Ex-chief Brolsma injured in crash

Greg Brolsma

FAIRMONT — Former Fairmont Police Chief Greg Brolsma, 58, was injured in a motorcycle accident Monday night.

According to a report from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, Brolsma was traveling north on County Road 41 when he collided with a deer. Brolsma was ejected from his motorcyle and came to rest on the roadway. The vehicle and the deer slid off into the west ditch.

Brolsma was found unresponsive with serious injuries. He was conscious when EMS arrived on the scene, but was unable to communicate, and was transported to the emergency room of Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont. He was later transferred to Rochester by air.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office was assisted on the scene by Gold Cross Ambulance, the Fairmont Police Department and the Fairmont Fire Department.

A CaringBridge website for Brolsma reported that he suffered significant head trauma, as he was not wearing a helmet. He also suffered multiple rib fractures, a lung injury, a fractured right scapula, and “road rash” and bruises. The site said he was breathing on his own Tuesday.

Brolsma spent 30 years in law enforcement, 15 as Fairmont’s chief of police before retiring in October 2016.

“Greg spent his career as a police officer trying to help make the lives of people in our community better,” said current Fairmont Police Chief Mike Hunter. “He was always there to try and help people in need. Now Greg and his family need our prayers and support as he begins to recover from the accident.

“As a chief, Greg always expected our officers to work hard and be involved in the community. He made sure we understood there was more to law enforcement than just enforcing laws. He made sure we understood the emphasis on service to our community and those who live here.

“Greg had a focus on working to make things better in the lives of children in our community. He was very involved with various groups and programs working towards that goal and our officers were able to share in that involvement. Greg was fortunate to continue that involvement when he retired and began his position with Kinship.”

Asked at the time of his retirement about some of his favorite parts of the job, Brolsma said he had been most interested in building and supporting crime prevention programs, and was excited about the Kinship program expanding to include all of Martin County.

“In 1998, we understood that for healthy youth, relationships are key,” he had said. “So we set about trying to build formal and informal ways for adults and kids to connect. From that we started Kinship, and I want to be supporting efforts that do that kind of work.”

Having served on the board of directors since the program’s inception, Brolsma took on the role of associate director in 2017.

“Kinship wishes the best for him for his healing and recovery,” said program director Katy Gonzalez. “Greg has been just wonderful to work with; he’s amazing. We refer to our team as the ‘dream team’ because all of our skills balance each other so well with Jen [Kahler], Greg and I.

“The amount of depth that he’s been able to bring to the program has been incredible. He’s so relational and has helped a lot with recruiting male mentors and getting the general word out about the program and why people should care about Kinship. He has continued to always be energized about what’s going on and has helped communicate that energy throughout the county.

“He’s very passionate and is a mentor himself,” she continued. “He wanted to make sure that when he was training mentors and telling them why they should do it that he was walking the walk. He’s a great man and Kinship is incredibly indebted to him.”

Gonzalez said Kinship is attempting to stay updated on Brolsma’s condition while also providing space for his family. She said that if people are curious, they can contact Kinship, which will provide updates as they become available. Kinship Martin County can be contacted by phone at (507) 238-4440 (office) or email kinship@kinshipofmartincounty.com. Kinship has a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fairmontareakinship