Grant Gillary Young War Veteran and New Hertz Fellow

August 28, 2011

Story from Crain's Detroit Business
by Mary Kramer

The Aug. 29 cover of Time had a compelling cover story: "The NEW Greatest Generation: How young war veterans are redefining leadership at home."

The stories of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan reminded me of another veteran's story a little closer to home.

Grant Gillary, 27, a graduate of Southfield Christian High School, was named this spring as one of 15 Hertz Foundation Fellows for 2011. The prestigious fellowship pays generously for study and living expenses, which will support Grant as he begins his PhD work in computational neuroscience at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. It could be a five-year haul.

A lot of Detroit Athletic Club members have followed Grant's military career with more than passing interest. His father, Ted, is the club's executive manager. Grant is the oldest of Ted and wife Annie's four children. 

Like the vets in Time's 
story, Grant is poised to achieve remarkable things.

Salutatorian of his U.S. Naval Academy class in 2005, he earned a master's degree in mathematical modeling and scientific computing at the University of Oxford as a Fulbright Scholar.

He went on to officers' training, then to Morocco to study modern Arabic and on to seven months as an intelligence adviser in Iraq. Later, promoted to captain, he led a platoon of Marines in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan. 

The area was so dangerous, his father says, that "even the Brits left it because of high casualty rates. Grant would tell us of the stress of being 35 days in combat zones at a time, of taking his helmet off and watching his hair fall out, just from stress." 

It is no surprise, then, that Grant's proudest moment was completing the seven-month tour with all Marines in his unit alive. 

Just a few weeks out of combat, he sat through highly technical, scientific interviews for the Hertz Fellowship. He must have nailed it.

Stephen Munk, president and CEO of the Detroit pharmaceutical company Ash Stevens Inc., offered advice during the application process. "Grant is one of the most exceptional young people I have encountered," said Munk, who, like me, is a member of the DAC. "He earned that fellowship. He will do very well at whatever he pursues." 

Fifteen were selected out of 558 applicants. Foundation President Jay Davis said in the awards announcement of this year's 15: "We believe they show the most promise to change the world." 

Which would clearly make the cover of Time—and maybe Crain's.