Christopher D. Ray Memorial Fishing Tournament set for June 15Published 10:23am Friday, May 24, 2013
Thirty family and friends travelled to Washington, DC to honor Christopher Ray in the 2013 National Police Week 5K on May 11. This event honors law enforcement officers who have given their lives while serving in the line of duty, just like Ray did in the early morning of August 29, 2009, responding to a domestic call.
The 7th Annual National Police Week 5K had over 2,400 registered runners and raised over $30,000 to benefit the Officer Down Memorial Page and Concerns of Police Survivors.
Traveling from the area locally were Chris Ray’s mother, Anne Ray; his aunt, Scottie Russell; his brother, Kevin Ray; Vernie and Esther Francis; Chris’s friends, John Barksdale, Alexa Cook and Megan Simpkins; and Sgt. Taz Stevens and wife Lori.
On June 15, the Christopher D. Ray Memorial Scholarship Foundation will hold its fourth annual Christopher D. Ray Memorial Fishing Tournament at the Hercules Boat Ramp in Courtland. All proceeds from this tournament will go directly to the Christopher D. Ray Memorial Scholarship fund to help support the educational efforts of local high school and college students who wish to pursue a career in public safety. The line-up of activities for the event includes:
• Fishing Tournament with registration at 6 a.m.;
• Banquet at Southampton Fairgrounds, gates open at 5:30 p.m.;
• Dinner served from 6-8 p.m.; and
• Live music by Hickory Knoll Band and other music provided by DJ Squirrel.
Last year’s fishing tournament hosted over 50 participants, and raised almost $10,000 for the CDRMS Fund. Following the tournament, the participants, along with many supporters from the community, gathered at the Franklin-Southampton Fairgrounds for a delicious barbecue dinner, silent auction, cornhole tournament, and live music. This tradition will continue with this year’s event.
Ray was a native of Southampton County, where from an early age, he developed a passion for the outdoors and his community, becoming an avid sportsman and outdoorsman. From the time he was old enough to hold a fishing pole, Christopher spent his free time hunting and fishing on the Nottoway River.
In 2005, he left home to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice at Radford University, where he continued pursuing his love for the outdoors by avidly hunting and fishing the New River in Southwestern VA.
After completing his degree in 2009, Christopher returned home, and joined the Southampton County Sheriff’s Department as a Deputy Sheriff. He served Southampton proudly until he tragically lost his life when his car struck a fallen tree while responding to a house call in the early morning hours of August 29, 2009.
Ironically, Christopher was catching trophy fish in the Nottoway up until his last hours, this proven by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Trophy Fish Citation awarded to Christopher for a fish caught on August 28, 2009, which was received by family months after the accident.
To register for the fishing tournament, call (757) 653-9367 or (757) 653-8342. The cost is $30 per person and the banquet admission price is included. Check in (registration) is at 6 a.m. and boats are in the water at 6:30 a.m. There will be five winning categories based on: largest by weight (bass); largest by weight (bowfin); largest by weight (sunfish); largest by weight (gar); and new this year — most species caught. For those who wish to sponsor a boat, sponsor the banquet or just make a tax-deductible donation, call the above phone numbers.
Tournament organizer John Barksdale, Ray’s closest friend said in a March article in The Tidewater News, “I wasn’t content letting his accident be the end. I wanted something to keep his legacy alive and be active in everyone’s mind.”
In 2011, the first ever Christopher Ray Memorial Scholarship was awarded. Applications for the 2013 scholarship have already been received from area high schools and colleges.