The Eastpointe Public Safety Department was the grand marshal during the Eastpointe Cruisin’ Gratiot VIP parade June 17.

The Eastpointe Public Safety Department was the grand marshal during the Eastpointe Cruisin’ Gratiot VIP parade June 17.

Photo by Maria Allard

Police, prayers highlight opening ceremony of Eastpointe Cruisin' Gratiot

By: Maria Allard | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published June 23, 2023


EASTPOINTE — As the Eastpointe Cruisin’ Gratiot opening ceremony began June 17, a group of Eastpointe Public Safety officers gathered in front of the stage.

They were recognized as this year’s grand marshal during the VIP parade.

“We greatly appreciate the cruise committee honoring us this year and all the hard work the men and women of the Eastpointe Police Department do. The men and women before you work their hearts out every day to make this community safe,” Deputy Chief Matthew Hambright said. “We thank everybody on the cruise committee and what they have done to set up this great event again this year.”

The opening ceremony also included several prayers from local pastors and also from the Public Safety Department’s four chaplains: Kevin Lancaster, of fire services, and James Friedman, Marc Mayes and Albert Rush, all of police services. Lancaster led everyone in reciting the Pledge Of Allegiance.

“We’re going to pray for our city, our city officials, our schools, as well as our cruisers, our first responders, as well as our military,” said Lancaster, who invited any clergy members in the audience onstage. “We stand here today in solidarity and unity as we look to God for our strength and a great day. Thank God for a Gratiot cruise committee. They work very hard.”

During the ceremony, Friedman shared information about the Eastpointe Cops Care nonprofit organization. Eastpointe Cops Care hosts several charitable events throughout the year that benefit families in the community. Eastpointe Cops Care is governed by a board, and the members are employees at the Eastpointe Police Department. For more information, visit its Facebook page.

Friedman presented Hambright with a proclamation, written on behalf of the cruise committee. According to the proclamation, the department responded to 27,725 calls for service in 2022. Per the proclamation, the cruise committee named Saturday, June 17, 2023, as “Eastpointe Police Cruisin’ Day.”

Someone notably missing from the festivities was cruise committee member Diane Reece Seger, who couldn’t attend because of health issues.

“She’s not here, but this woman has been very instrumental in the Gratiot cruise,” Lancaster said. “She’s a vital part of the cruise. I want you to keep her in your prayers.”

“Diane’s dream was to honor the Police Department this year, and we’re doing it. I am so delighted to have these ladies and gentlemen up front, who are our police officers,” said Eastpointe City Council Member Harvey Curley, who also is a member of the cruise committee. “I want you to remember Diane. She wanted so much to be here. She’s here in spirit. Pray for her. Diane, we love you.”

Money raised from the annual cruise is distributed to five Eastpointe charities: St. Vincent de Paul Conference at St. Basil the Great Catholic Church, the Eastpointe Lions Club, the East Detroit Tiger Cats, Odd Fellows Eastwood Lodge No. 496 and Love Life Family Christian Center. In past years, the cruise committee also has donated to other charitable organizations, including the Kiwanis Clinton Township and the Michigan Military Technical & Historical Society in Eastpointe.