Benefit being held for Navy vet’s family

Published 11:52 pm Friday, June 30, 2017

WEST POINT – On Sunday, Mountain Spring Baptist Church in West Point will be holding a benefit program in honor of Kevin Graves, a United States Navy veteran who passed away June 17 after a long-term battle with retinal cell cancer.

“We are asking for love offerings to support the family in need,” Mountain Spring Baptist Church member Vickie Simpson said.

“Any funds we have received we will present to Mrs. Graves at that time.”

Kevin Graves spent four years as an active-duty Navy hospital corspsman, and another eight years in an active-duty reserve role before transition to work for the Veterans Health Administration, first in Pennsylvania, then in Carrolton. He was married to his wife, Monique Graves, for 25 years. The couple has two daughters, Dominique Alexis Graves, age 11, and Jazlynn McKenna Graves, age nine.

The Graves family moved to LaGrange in 2014 from Pennsylvania, after the family spent Thanksgiving of 2013 with Monique Graves’ sister in LaGrange.

“Quite honestly we left Pennsylvania in snow boots and everything,” Monique Graves said. “We got here and it was 50 degrees, I looked at my husband and I said ‘I could really do this.’ We wanted to move south and LaGrange seemed to be a good place to come.”

The family made the transition in 2014, at which point Kevin Graves was already battling the cancer that eventually took his life. The original diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma came in 2010. After a long battle with the disease that included more than eight rounds of chemotherapy, both oral rounds and intravenous, Kevin Graves passed away on June 17 of this year.

Monique Graves wants her husband to be remembered for the genuine, helpful and God-fearing man that he was.

“I want people to remember that my husband was an absolutely good man,” Monique Graves said.

“He was a good man. People will say that about their family members, but I’ve been a social worker and a counselor for many years. I’ve been able to step back and view this from a distance. My husband was a genuinely good man. You could call him at any time, he would help everybody. He was a social-type person. He didn’t meet many strangers. To be able to help and help others was his big goal. He was a God-fearing man.”

Mountain Spring Baptist Church has passed out flyers to neighbors, friends and family for the benefit program, which will be held at 2 pm on Sunday.