“He was 6-foot, 5-inches with a gift and passion for culinary. He applied it in a unique way to serve others and wasn’t afraid to use his resources to serve others and lead others because of that. That would best describe my brother.” – Richard Gripp on his younger brother, Doug.
Doug B. Gripp, 52, of Carmel was volunteering to prepare a men’s ministry barbecue on Aug. 26 at Grace Community Church, 5504 E. 146th St. Manning a grill that he had used countless times to cook large meals, tragedy struck as the grill exploded, killing Gripp in the process.
“He was doing what he loved to do,” Richard Gripp said, speaking on behalf of the family. “Doug had a passion for culinary, not as a business but as a joy. He loved grilling, loved the making of all the things and applied that to his faith.”
Gripp said his brother was a very strong family man who “let his walk match his talk.” He purchased large quantities of food then prepared meals for the homeless in Indianapolis.
“He was serving others in need. He did this on a repeated basis,” Gripp said.
Doug had the idea of incorporating his passion for food and leadership with the church. What started with four men has now expanded to 30.
“He opened up a whole new aspect of men’s ministry,” Gripp said. “Doug would say it’s not about the food – that was the bait – it was about leading others to give back.
Gripp said his brother was detailed, thorough, and used best practices, even in the moments leading up to his death.
“Before he lit the smoker he told everybody to get back and that saved everyone’s life,” he said. “There was no human error or mechanical error. There was nothing anybody could have done or not done. It was a very rare situation.”
The grill was taken by investigators to a secure storage location. NFD Division Chief Rick Russell said the department was working in conjunction with the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office to determine the cause of the explosion, which was not available at publication time.
“We’ll look at the explanation we have and ask, ‘Does it match up to the injuries of the victim?,’” Russell said, adding NFD is using the same systematic approach with this incident as they would a fire investigation.