Annual Kozminski memorial games to benefit Kent Co. deputy’s wife

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The annual Robert Kozminski Memorial Basketball Games have been raising money for law enforcement families in West Michigan for years.

The yearly event honors Robert Kozminski, a Grand Rapids Police Department officer killed in the line of duty in 2007.

“I love the event. There’s so much about it that brings awareness to Robert Kozminski, his family, GR police department, our police department,” Kent County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Krystal Stuart said.

This year, the guests of honor at the event will be Stacey and Braxton Crowder. Only married two years, they’re already facing the fight of their lives.

“It has been a long, long journey for sure. She’s had to go through chemo, radiation and now several surgeries leading up to this point,” Braxton Crowder, a deputy with the sheriff’s department, said.

At only 28 years old, Stacey was diagnosed with advanced stage 3 colon cancer.

“Took us by surprise, as it would anybody,” Braxton Crowder said.

Stacey Crowder undergoes treatments. (Courtesy)

The diagnosis came in April, right before Braxton Crowder started his job at the sheriff’s department.

From day one, the Crowders have felt the full support from their brothers and sisters in law enforcement.

“This department has been amazing, allowing me to take time off to be with her, make appointments, surgeries. People have stepped in and worked days for me so I can be there by her side through this journey,” Braxton Crowder said.

This weekend, the Crowders will feel the support of the West Michigan community when they become the beneficiaries of the annual Robert Kozminski Basketball Games.

“It’s a good vibe and you know it’s going back to a deserving family and everything we’re putting in this is going back to a family that can really use it,” Deputy Krystal Stuart, who is on the committee that plans the event, said.

The event is free. All proceeds raised through $10 raffles, food sales and donations will go to Deputy Crowder and his wife. The goal is to raise $10,000.

“Having an event like this highlights we’re all humans. We’re all in this together. This world is all about giving back to each other. We’re praying and hoping and just moving forward one day at a time,” Braxton Crowder said.

The basketball games begin at 5 p.m. Saturday at Kenowa Hills High School:

  • Game 1: Local police vs. Kenowa Hills teachers
  • Game 2: GRPD vs. KCSO

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