Tireless volunteerism earns Rick Grane title of Mr. Westlake

Rick Grane high-fives walkers during the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure event in July 2011.

You probably know Rick Grane. You may not know him by name, but if you’ve ventured out to community events in Westlake throughout the years, you’ve seen him.

Rick is present at most large events in the city, volunteering as an auxiliary police officer. Relay for Life, there’s Rick from the opening to closing ceremonies. The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, there’s Rick stopping traffic for the walkers and giving high-fives as they pass. At the North Coast Challenge, there’s Rick in front of St. John Medical Center lining up kids for the fun run. Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades, Kiwanis pancake breakfasts, Elks Lodge fundraisers … there’s Rick.

It’s only fitting that Rick has been honored for his citywide volunteerism by being named Mr. Westlake 2014 by the Westlake Town Criers during the Christmas tree lighting on Nov. 23 at Crocker Park.

The annual award is usually given to the married couple that together best exemplify the service-oriented goals of the Town Criers. But this year an exception was made, and Rick was chosen along with his departed wife, Susan, who succumbed to a difficult battle with cancer in 2003. His wife’s fight with cancer was the impetus for Rick to volunteer so much of his time for causes involved with finding a cure for the disease. Besides Susan, cancer has claimed over a dozen of Rick’s relatives over the years and he believes he keeps their memories alive by participating in so many of these events.

“You’ve got to give back, I’ve seen way too many people that take things for granted,” said Rick.

His contribution to making Westlake a better place includes more than his auxiliary police duties. He is heavily involved in the Westlake Kiwanis, having recently served as president of the organization. He also belongs to the Elks, he’s a committee member for Emily’s Rainbow Run, he donates his time to upkeep the grounds of his church, Westlake United Methodist, and has served on the 2011 Westlake Bicentennial Committee.

Of his 30 years of volunteerism, Rick commented, “I want to give back a little bit, and a little bit is my therapy to keep me going.”

The normally self-effacing Rick is honored to be Mr. Westlake for next year.

“I see something that needs to be done and I do it or find someone who can. I was raised to not be a ‘me’ person, but this is pretty cool.”

So, when you’re out attending community events this year in Westlake, look for Rick Grane, and stop and say “congrats, Mr. Westlake” to a shining example of citizen involvement and a wonderful asset to the city he loves so much.

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Volume 5, Issue 24, Posted 9:49 AM, 11.26.2013