‘A Perfect Storm of Opportunity’: Together, These 2 Brothers Are Determined to Win a Seat in Congress
Brotherhood is important to Demetries Grimes.
It got him through college. The son of a Navy man and an immigrant mother, both of whom lived in the Middle East at the time, he leaned on his fraternity brothers at Boston University for support.
It helped him survive. A retired U.S. Navy Commander, he led his military brothers through seven deployments and two tours in Afghanistan.
Now, if he wins, it will be brotherhood that got him there. Grimes is running for U.S. Congress in South Florida, and once again, he is leaning on a brother — fellow Lambda Chi alumnus Robert Brown, his chief of staff.
The Formative Years
If you ask Grimes where he is from, he will tell you all over.
He was born in Indianapolis, but because his dad was a Navy guy as well, they moved around a lot.
“Wherever we went, I was always the new guy,” Grimes said. “So my diplomatic skills were acquired early.”
He went to boarding school in Greece before moving back to the United States to attend BU.
“In those formative years when I left home and went out and had that first journey on my own, the fraternity became my home away from home,” he said. “The brotherhood and the camaraderie that we had, for me, was something special.”
Oftentimes, because he didn’t have the time or money to travel overseas to see his parents who were working in the Middle East, his fraternity brothers would invite him to their families’ homes for the holidays.
They became a second family for him.
Lambda Chi became a compass.
“The values that Lambda Chi promotes — loyalty, duty, respect, service and stewardship, honor, integrity and personal courage — really laid a great foundation for my success as a citizen, naval officer and diplomat. All of those ideals are the foundation of being a good citizen,” he said. “They’re universal concepts that I was lucky enough to be exposed to as a student at Boston University.”
‘Naught Without Labor’
As a naval officer, Grimes completed a good mix of assignments.
In addition to his service overseas, he spent some time at the Pentagon and even the White House, where he worked as a military aid to President Bill Clinton.
He took advantage of his G.I. Bill while he was based in England, earning a MBA from the London Business School.
Twenty-five years and several jobs later, Grimes retired from the Navy.
“I didn’t plan to spend as long as I did (in the Navy). But I kept getting one great assignment after another,” he said.
“As I was considering my plans for the future, it appeared there’s a perfect storm of opportunity for a guy like me to serve again. I love our country and respect our institutions, so this campaign we’re running is a positive one.”
Running for Congress
Grimes has reached out to several fraternity brothers since announcing his run for Congress last month.
“As I’ve embarked on this new journey, it has provided an incredible opportunity to reach out to some of my brothers,” Grimes said. “When you’re operating abroad, people go on with their lives. So as I make these calls and talk to (my fraternity brothers) again and ask them for their support … it has been quite emotional, the enthusiasm everybody has for this effort.”
But no one had quite the enthusiasm Brown does.
Grimes and Brown have known one another since college. They were part of a core group of guys who helped reinstate Alpha Zeta at Boston University in the 1980s. A number of fraternities had been removed from campus, including Lambda Chi.
“Together, we set a tone and pace for that redevelopment,” Brown said. “So our bond has always been more than just being fraternity brothers. It was building something together.”
Brown is head of digital for AIG, so he felt his skillset could lend itself to Grimes’s campaign.
“When I heard that he was running, knowing him and respecting him like I do, I said, ‘OK. I’m on board,’ and I just started helping,” Brown said. “Our visions seemed to align really well.”
Grimes is running on several platforms. First and Foremost, he strives to ensure that what the current government does is just, he said.
“What I’ve been saying on the trail is for 25 years I’ve honored my oath, served well and left no man behind,” Grimes said. “This country has a duty to treat every one of us equally.”
Other platforms include: promoting quality, affordable education and healthcare for all Americans; comprehensive immigration reform that protects America’s borders; proper use of taxpayer dollars; ensuring the U.S. Military is properly equipped; common sense gun laws that protect the country’s children; equal pay for women; more environmental protections; and of course honoring the country’s commitments to seniors and veterans.
But why Florida?
Because it feels most like home, Grimes said.
His parents, even though they moved around a lot, made sure the family had a home base. That home base was South Florida.
“(My siblings and I) could always come back here when we needed to,” he said.
It is also the ideal place for him as a congressional candidate. It has a large concentration of veterans thanks to several bases in the area.
“So many people are down here because they served or came on vacation, fell in love with the place and never left,” Grimes said. “It really is a special place.”
Brown is confident Grimes can win this seat in Florida’s 26th Congressional District.
“Demetries has so much humility,” Brown said. “He is truly living the ideals of Lambda Chi Alpha. Service, sacrifice … that’s all he’s done with his career.”
Grimes is confident, too. He worked hard to get to where he is today, and he has Lambda Chi to thank for that.
“Throughout my journeys beyond college, I’ve held our mottos dear,” he said. “Especially “Calepa ta Kala,” naught without labor, and “Vir Quisque Vir,” every man a man.”
For more information about Grimes’s run for Congress or to reach out to the Commander, click here.
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