The parking lot of Dake Corp. in Grand Haven was filled to overflow Wednesday night for the 24th annual car show and cruise to honor Flahive, a Grand Haven police officer who was killed in the line of duty in 1994.
Jeremy VanKampen, who attended the cruise for the first time this year, works with the Ottawa County corrections department and was on duty the night Flahive was killed. He described Flahive as “an all-around good guy,” and “a good cop” who was enthusiastic about his job.
“It’s just crazy it’s been 24 years since he passed, and it certainly doesn’t seem like that long,” VanKampen said. “But it’s not the only law enforcement funeral I’ve attended over the years, and it’s a tragedy when someone gives their life serving their community and protecting others, especially so young. You always think about what could have been. It’s hard. So, I appreciate that there’s an event like this … to remember something important like that.”
VanKampen was at the cruise with his uncle, Dan Kornoelie, who said he was also appreciative of the annual event.
“I’m glad they’re doing something like this (so) that his name just doesn’t get forgotten,” Kornoelie said.
Organizer Kurt Pravda started the event 24 years ago and said he was happy with the turnout, despite the heat.
“Hoping for one more, that’ll be 25 years,” Pravda said Wednesday night. “It’s getting harder and harder to do, but I had a couple people step up and help me a lot this year.
“It’s nice. I mean, they get to show off their cars, but they’re buying raffle tickets and hopefully we raise a whole bunch of money,” he added.
The proceeds from the raffles held throughout the night went to a scholarship in Flahive’s name. There was also entertainment and food vendors in the parking lot prior to the cruise.
Grand Haven Department of Public Safety Officer Todd DeVries, who has been escorting the cruise since 2014, said it is an honor to be a part of the event. He said the turnout gets bigger every year.
“We get comments about Scott 24/7,” he said. “Every day of the year people bring it up, but this really brings everybody together. It’s amazing, even on the route, it’s touching when you go past and there’s people lined up on the streets in lounge chairs waving American flags and yelling. It’s awesome.”