Deputy's Parents Look Back One Year Later

Posted at 12:03 PM, Dec 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-06 12:03:36-05

From the horrific crash to the arrest and eventual conviction of the man who killed their son, it's been a long, life-altering year for the Whitakers.

"Through the grace of God you get through everyday," said Mary Whitaker. "And, everyday is unique to it's own as far as what does hurt and what is okay that day and what isn't okay the next day."

Both said it's their faith that's pushing them through and the community that continues to hold open its arms.

"They're actually very precious gifts when someone gives us a positive story that they can relate to Grant. And, yep we just take them and store them all in our heart," Mrs. Whitaker added.

Because stories are all they have left of their youngest child.

Mr. Whitaker was quick to share about their Halloween pumpkin carving tradition.

"Grant always thought he was gonna get first place," Clyde Whitaker explained. "I could tell everyone's pumpkin. But, he tried and you know he always wanted to win. I think he came 2nd one year and he was really happy."

Deputy Whitaker showed that same drive and heart the night he was killed, trying to stop John Kelsey in order to uphold the law and protect his community.

"I don't think he could've done his job any differently. I don't think he ever would've thought this could end my life tonight. This was my job and I need to make this person pull over," Mrs. Whitaker said.

The Whitakers told me the thought of that night brings up questions they know they'll never have answered, like what could their son have become?

And, the crash site is just a quick glance out the window of their home, too.

"At first I thought, how could you do this to us? How could you put this right here? but now I see the reason," Mrs. Whitaker said. "If it were somewhere else - the other side of Ingham County on an expressway somewhere I can't make it this place."

A place where they can always stop and be reminded of the 25 years of life their son lived. A short life that left a big impact.

"He did it," Mrs. Whitaker said.

And now, he's home.

Deputy Whitaker struggled to make his way through the Academy. His parents said he wouldn't let them help because he wanted to pay his own way.

So, they're setting up a scholarship through both the Sheriff's Office and Stockbridge Schools to help a young recruit.

A memorial fund has already been created in Mason.