Fundraiser planned for late firefighter’s son

By Chris Frank
KAKE – January 31, 2017


If there’s one thing that stands out about Collis Grisby among his fellow Wichita firefighters, it’s that he had the habit of greeting almost everyone with a hug.

Grisby died last Tuesday at age 53, after falling ill and being hospitalized while off-duty. Grisby was a 23-year veteran of the Wichita Fire Department, and most recently worked out of Station 18 on Webb Road near K-96.

“First thing I think about is that he’s just a good firefighter, very knowledgeable, very friendly and outgoing,” Capt. Tony Heard said. “He never said anything bad about anybody that I ever knew of.”

“I kind of called Collis a gentle giant, Troy Franklin Jr. added. “He was big, but he was the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet.”

“He’s more than a friend. He’s family,” firefighter Jamal Williams-Bey recalled. “He treated everybody on the job exactly the same. He gave everybody hugs when he saw them…. Collis had one of the biggest hearts on this job.”

“He liked to give people hugs,” Heard remembered. “In the fire service, we’re not very touchy of each other. Collis didn’t care. He’d come up and give you a hug, anyway.”

A hug connected with Grisby led to him being honored by the American Red Cross in Wichita as Firefighter Hero of the Year in 2010. Grisby was part of a crew from then-Station 12 which was called to an unresponsive infant. The crew was too late, as the two-month-old girl died. The family was grieving.

“I noticed the dad was by himself in the kitchen,” Grisby told KAKE News in 2010. “So I went over there to console him. I just gave him a hug and he just broke down.”

Grisby’s wife died about 18 months ago. They leave behind an only son, age 12. So fellow firefighters will hold a fundraiser next Sunday, called “Super Party for a Super Guy.” It will be at the IAFF union hall at 428 North St. Francis in Wichita. There will be chili and baked goods, with money going to build a college fund for the 12-year-old.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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