This is the speech my daughter gave at the Maine Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial last month!
My name is Anne Griffith. I am the youngest of four children of Maine Warden Chaplain Kate Braestrup and fallen Maine State Trooper Drew Griffith.
It is a privilege to stand with you, and honor my father today. On behalf of the families of the fallen, I thank you all for being here.
As the youngest of Drew’s children, I was three years old when my dad died, too young to form clear memories.
I did not have much of a chance to experience him as a father, and my memories of him are vague and uncertain.
What I had, growing up, were stories — stories of his intelligence, his kindness, and his humor— told to me by those who had known him well: my mother, and my siblings of course, my family…and my blue family, too. Law enforcement officers who worked with Dad supported us, shared our sadness and kept us close over the years, caring for him by caring for us. They, too, gave me my father in stories.
And so, two decades later I am still a part of that blue family.
In 2014 I worked as a Reserve Patrol Officer. During this time, I thought often of my dad. I got a glimpse of him—his sorrows and satisfactions— through performing the tasks that he performed; I placed handcuffs on offenders while they fought me.
I performed CPR on two victims… and could not save them.
I helped in preventing the suicide of a mentally ill woman.
For the past year, I have worked as an Investigative Analyst for the Computer Crimes Unit. During this time I have assisted in a variety of cases from child pornography possession to child molestation offenses.
Because of the nature of my work for the Unit, I can definitively point to particular cases and know for certain that I made a difference in the outcome of the investigation. There is a satisfaction in this that my father felt…and I have felt it, too.
I know there is no greater sense of honor and purpose than participating in the protection of innocent human lives. This is what my father died doing.
Besides working with an incredible team, I am fortunate to work closely with those who knew and loved my father- Lt. Glenn Lang who helped to carry his casket, Sgt. Laurie Northrup who once told me her last conversation with my dad was of how much he loved his wife and children; Computer Analyst Andrea Donovan, who worked as a State Police Dispatcher and heard my Dad sign on 10-8, and sign off 10-7.
I am able to know my father through them, just as they are able to know him through me.
April 15, 2016 marked the 20th Anniversary of my father’s line of duty death.
To mark the day, I went for a run.
A sergeant of the Maine State Police K9 Unit, and a recently graduated State Trooper ran with me, in the area where I grew up—and Dad’s patrol area.
We ended up at Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde, where a bench dedicated in my father’s name is placed. The sky was clear blue and the air was crisp with salt from the nearby ocean.
Neither the sergeant nor the brand-new trooper had ever shaken my father’s hand, or laughed at his jokes. Still, they are his family, they are his brothers. They ran with him by running with me.
The law enforcement family is large; it crosses state lines and international borders. Though my siblings and I lost our father, we did not lose our connection to his legacy, nor the family he became a part of when he joined the Maine State Police in 1986. I know who my father was because I know you—his brothers and sisters in uniform, intelligent, good-humored and kind—who continue to serve and protect the people of Maine and of the United States. In honoring my father today, I honor you.
Thank you. “