Sunday, June 23, 2024

Avenue of Heroes: Lowell Grimaud

Prepared by: Nicole Lesher (daughter)

Col Grimaud was born and raised in Coronado with his six siblings. His dad owned an appliance store on Orange Avenue until his untimely death left his wife, Adeline, to raise seven children while working as a nurse at Coronado hospital. Lowell graduated from Coronado High School in 1956 and went on to enlist in the California Army National
Guard. He was also employed as an aircraft mechanic at Naval Air Station, North Island. After graduating from SDSU, he received his commission from Officers Training School and began his 25-year career in the Air Force. During this time, he served two tours in Europe and Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. While in Libya, Lowell helped save the stained-glass window commemorating WWII pilots who lost their lives on the B-24D aircraft ‚Äď Lady Be Good ‚Äď which now hangs in the National Museum of the Air Force in Ohio.

Later, Lowell traveled the world with his wife and four children. He proudly hung the Coronado flag wherever he went, even in Vietnam. Lowell went on to earn two master’s degrees and attended Squadron Officers School, Air Command and Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He was also an ordained Deacon in the Catholic Church.

After retiring from the military, Lowell went on to teach Jr. ROTC and worked as the purchasing manager for the City of Philadelphia. Later he moved back to California where he worked with the Soil and Water Conservation Society. During that time, Lowell was active in the community volunteering with his local VFW post, church groups, emergency response teams and Lagoon Conservation projects. He also worked with other veterans to launch the first ever ‚ÄúPaddle Out‚ÄĚ for the Oceanside Surf Museum, honoring the 58,220 soldiers lost in Vietnam.

Lowell Grimaud is currently retired and lives in Carlsbad where he remains active with his church, the Knights of Columbus, the Oceanside Surf Museum, and the local Veterans Community. Lowell has a servant’s heart, and he continually goes out of his way to help
others. He has a gift for making every event special and creating lasting memories. He is a role model to his four children, eleven grandchildren, and twelve great grandchildren.

The Avenue of Heroes Program is a military service recognition program sponsored by the City of Coronado. Introduced in 2014, the program has honored 230 hometown heroes to date. On May 20, 2023, another 15 were honored. City staff and volunteers from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422, the Coronado Historical Association and the Third and Fourth Streets Neighborhood Association oversee its operation. In 2011, the program was inspired spontaneously with the movement of two Navy SEALs to their final resting place. News spread quickly throughout the city and the local Rotary Club passed out American flags. People lined Fourth Street to honor the fallen service members. As the procession approached the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, a lone Navy SEAL stood at attention, saluting as he waited for the passage of his comrades. At that moment, it was clear that Third and Fourth streets were already an Avenue of Heroes. From that spontaneous beginning, the program was launched in May 2015 with 18 banners. Ceremonies are held twice yearly and men and women with ties to the community have been recognized from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The Avenue of Heroes program is a reminder that Coronado has a rich history and legacy of service to country.

Bella Villarin
Bella Villarin
Bella is a proud military brat who has been a resident of Coronado since 2015. She was born in Japan, and after a short stay in Virginia, traveled extensively throughout Asia while living in Singapore and picking up another language. A senior at Coronado High School, Bella can be found at the driving range or golf course when not in school, studying, writing, playing the guitar, or spending time with her family. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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