From left, Blake Keefer a Navy Seabee greets younger brother Hunter Keefer at GHS graduation. Photo by Patrick McAbee.
By David Fleet
Goodrich-Hunter Keefer was just seconds from receiving his diploma.
“I was next,” said Hunter, 17, one of about 160 high school graduates who participated in commencement on June 3.
“Then Mr. Davis, who was handing out the diplomas told me to wait. I was scared—I thought they weren’t going to let me graduate.”
Following the slight pause, Davis eased Hunter’s concerns.
“Hunter’s diploma will be handed out by his brother, Blake who just returned home from the service,” he said.
Blake Keefer, 19, a 2017 Goodrich High School graduate had enlisted in the Navy about a year ago. He served at Navel Station Great Lakes and the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering in Wichita Falls, Texas. He is currently stationed at the Naval Education and Training Command, Gulf Port, Miss. and will be deployed on active duty later this year.
“We’re pretty close,” said Hunter. “He’s the one person I really wanted at my graduation. I had been bugging Blake to come home but it’s really hard for him to do. But about a week ago the Navy granted him a week leave.”
Blake and the family kept the surprise from Hunter.
“Blake kept telling me, ‘did you get your graduation card in the mail? And, ‘maybe I’ll be home at the Fourth of July,’” laughed Hunter. “I was just so bummed out before graduation that my brother was not going to be there.”
Shelley Reece, the mother of Blake and Hunter said the graduation reunion required the efforts of many.
“We are so very grateful to Dave Davis, Principal Mike Baszler and the Navy,” said Shelley. “Blake flew in on Saturday before graduation and stayed with a friend until Sunday. They let Blake in through a side door and just at the right time came on stage for Hunter. They are just the best of friends.”
Blake has a week leave from the Navy. Hunter will attend Mott Community College to study nursing in the fall. They are the sons of Shelley and Luke Reece of Davison Township and Jermey Keefer.