Saturday, July 6, 2013
PFC John Graves, 50, of Summerville wasn’t sure what he wanted to do as he thought beyond his retirement after 20 years in the Navy in 2001. He was due to retire September 30.
His dad had served in the Air Force and then became a reserve officer and prison guard in Graves’ home state of Louisiana. He is originally from Alexandria, LA. His brother, also retired Air Force, was a reserve police officer in Louisiana. Grave was thinking about following their footsteps into police work, or, maybe he would become a fire fighter.
A logistics specialist in the Navy, his last port was Norfolk. Graves former wife had roots in Summerville, so they came here.
Then September 11 happened.
“The country was hurting,” said Graves, “we didn’t know what was going to happen…would it be World War III?”
September 11 made everything clear to Graves.
In 2002 he joined the Summerville Police Reserves and served for five years. In 2006, he went on full time with the department.
Graves has been through the police academy, had radar and high-risk traffic stop training as well as special weapons training.
“There is no doubt in my mind it was a great choice,” he said. “We do so much for the community.
He’s had some scary moments though and some really good ones.
Graves recalls a freezing cold winter night when they discovered a five-year-old walking down Route 78 in pajamas, carrying a stuffed animal at 2 a.m. Apparently the child was staying at a friend’s house, woke up, didn’t know where she was and left. To further exacerbate things, the little girl didn’t speak English.
“We drove around and around trying to find her house or the friend’s house.”
Ultimately, the child and her mother were reunited.
This is what makes the job rewarding for Graves. “I like being a street cop,” he said, “I love patrol.”
Graves is currently looking into the possibility of becoming a School Resource Officer.
Now divorced, Graves spends his spare time with his daughter. He loves horseback riding, as does his daughter. He also enjoys boating, jet skiing, recreational fishing, deer hunting and riding motorcycles…and anything with his daughter.