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GH native to represent Mich. in NYC 5k

Krystle Wagner • Sep 21, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Brett Ramsden’s passion and dedication to doing the right thing and serving his community will lead him to New York City this weekend.

The Michigan Remembers 9/11 Fund selected Ramsden, a Grand Haven native, to represent the state in the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower 5k on Sunday, Sept. 24. The event remembers Siller, a New York firefighter who died Sept. 11, 2001.

After ending his shift, Siller heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center. Since the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel was closed to traffic, Siller grabbed his gear from his vehicle and ran to the towers.

The distance was about 5 kilometers, said Ramsden, who is a police officer and firefighter.

When Ramsden, 33, mentioned the Michigan Remembers 9/11 Fund sought applicants for the Stephen Siller 5k, his wife, Erika, told him it described him and she planned to nominate him.

Ramsden said he’s humbled and appreciates the nomination because he’s proud of his accomplishments, but he says he performs his duties because they’re the right thing to do.

“I don’t expect to be recognized for the things I do,” he said.

Life in law enforcement

Serving his community through a career in law enforcement was a “calling for him,” said Ramsden, who lives in Mason with his wife and their children: daughter Brooklyn, 2; and a newborn son, Cole.

Ramsden’s father was a probation officer for Ottawa County and his uncle was the chief of police in Westland, near Detroit.

Since his freshman year at Grand Haven High School, Ramsden said he knew he wanted to pursue a career in the field. He participated a ride-along with Lt. Joe Boyle of the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety. Through the years, Ramsden participated in local and state junior police academies.

After graduating from GHHS in 2002, Ramsden attended Grand Valley State University and then a police academy in Roscommon.

Ramsden has served as an officer for the Lansing Township Police Department for nearly 10 years. He’s also a paid on-call volunteer firefighter for the Mason Fire Department. He has been a medical investigator for Ingham County for the past six years and is a background investigator for Ingham County 911.

As part of the Michigan Remembers 9/11 Fund nomination process, Ramsden needed two references and one letter of recommendation. 

In a letter on Ramsden’s behalf, 55th District Court Judge Donald Allen Jr. wrote about Ramsden’s attendance at sobriety court graduations. When someone Ramsden arrested graduates from sobriety court, Ramsden gets notified and tries to attend every graduation. Ramsden said he cares about the people he arrests and he stands with the graduate to show his support — in a way to show that police care, he said.

“We do care about the people we have contact with, even if it’s a negative way,” Ramsden said.

Upcoming 5k

On Sept. 9, Ramsden and his sister, Kendall Bouge, participated in the Michigan Remembers 5k. Bouge will also run with Ramsden in New York because she will be in the state at the same time for an unrelated event.

As Ramsden runs the 5k, he will think about fallen officers including Deputy Grant Whitaker from the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, Grand Haven police officer Scott Flahive and Cathy Shaw of the Ottawa County Jail.

Ramsden said he will also think about the courage and heroism that took place on Sept. 11, 2001.

“Remembering the courage it would take to know what you’re running into, know the chances are you might not make it out, and do it without hesitation because that is what you swore to do,” he said.

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