GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 9, 2014) – The Conquerors Support Group shares the tight-knit bond of having lost a loved one to violence. Sunday they shared their monthly meeting, hosted by Oakdale Park Church, to recognize Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk and honor the work he does to support grieving families.
“He comes to every one of our picnics, he comes to every one of our fundraisers, he’s there to just simply let people know that ‘I care.’ That means a lot to a person when you’ve lost someone,” said Carolyn Priester, founder and president of Conquerors Support Group.
Many of residents in attendance have recently lost a family member because of violence in Grand Rapids. They meet regularly to share memories, work through grief and strengthen each other; this Sunday they chose to honor Chief Belk, who’s helped bring resources to some residents when they need it most.
“It’s certainly humbling. This is a great group of people that’s come together who’s suffered great loss of loved ones,” said Chief Belk.
Chief Belk says his decision to retire this summer is something he’s coming to terms with, after 34 years of services he says the work never ends, but the timing is right.
“What we believe is community policing: it’s about the police department and the community. We work together to make our community safe; it’s not just the police department and certainly not just the community,” added Chief Belk.
Founder and President of the Conquerors Support Group, Carolyn Priester, said Chief Belk helps the group with community resources like professional grief counselors and a small burial fund. Priester says this group helps people move forward.
“I hate to see them go, but it makes me know that we have accomplished what we really want to do. Our goal is to help a person get to where they can do what they need to do,” shared Priester.
Chief Belk will retire sometime this summer, but he says his work with the City doesn’t end there: Carolyn and the Chief plan to work together to continue to bring local families together in a time of need.