Kevin Graves, Bay Area LINC
Kevin Graves is a survivor and Gold Star Father. His son, SPC Joseph A. Graves, was KIA just outside of Baghdad, Iraq on 25 Jul 06. Joey was killed while serving in the 720th MP BN, 110th CO out of Ft. Hood, Texas. Joey was Kevin’s only child and was raised by his father as a single parent from the age of nine.
At that time, Kevin had been in the construction industry for thirty years. The loss of his child ultimately resulted in the loss of his career. In searching for direction and purpose, Kevin started working on legislation to provide Gold Star license plates to families of the fallen. With the assistance of CalVet, as the sponsoring agency, the ‘Gold Star Family’ license plate bill was signed into law in 2009. Kevin, alongside another Gold Star father, wanted to make sure that the bill was designed to show recognition to all immediate family members that had sacrificed so much. They also made sure it included all eras.
In 2010, still searching for a purpose and with no prior service, Kevin was struggling with understanding the experiences his son had in the military. In January of 2010, Kevin was sworn into the Cal Guard as a 56M, Chaplains Assistant. This fulfilled the need Kevin had to earn the right to wear the uniform his son so proudly wore. Kevin is currently a Sergeant First Class serving the 185th MP BN out of Pittsburg, CA.
As the Bay Area LINC, Kevin provides outreach to approximately 360,000 veterans and their families in a ten-county region. His role with CalVet ties into his survivor support by continually advocating on behalf of survivor families. Kevin feels honored to provide veterans and their families with resources and benefits and he is passionate about this mission that is fueled by the sacrifice of his son.