KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Knoxville man celebrated the grand opening of his new outreach center, Saturday morning.
Ira Grimes founded the Keenan Grimes Outreach Center following the overdose death of his 26-year-old son Keenan last May.
“When I received the phone call my heart was just gone immediately,” said Grimes. “It was like God just took my whole heart and said ‘I understand your son is gone.’”
Grimes says the loss of his son lead him to a new passion.
“It took like an hour or for that desire to go out of my heart, to start grieving and to process,” he said. “Once I started that, I immediately knew that I had to do something with this for the rest of my life. I have a vision to help everybody that’s in this same type of situation.”
The resource center is located in East Knoxville and is designed to give users and their families a safe space.
“I want people to feel free to come in here,” said Grimes. “I want to be able to guide them to certain facilities for help. I want their families to be able to come in here for counseling, certain type of things, prevention.”
In 2016, 224 people died from overdose in Knox County. Grimes says it is a frequent problem in his neighborhood.
“Drugs is so big of a problem, I would be right here and across the street the ambulance would pull up trying to save people in their cars while they done got high,” said Grimes.
Even though Keenan can’t physically be here at the building, Grimes says he knows he’s here in spirit.
“Keenan is smiling right now he is so happy because he was that type of person,” said Grimes. “He would want to see people smile and enjoy life because that’s what he was really about.”
The Keenan Grimes Outreach Center is located at 2561 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. Visitors are welcome Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday. The center is closed on Sundays.