Ray Safety foundation does work year round

Published 7:32 pm Friday, May 3, 2019


The outside of the library in Courtland got a proper cleaning thanks to the Christopher D. Ray Foundation and Attention 2 Detail Powerwashing. —Submitted John Barksdale


Fundraising for the Christopher D. Ray Safety Memorial Foundation usually starts around this time, according to its founder, John Barksdale, a close friend of the late young man. The money goes chiefly toward the annual scholarship in Ray’s name. The funds come from donations by friends and family, as well as other individuals or organizations moved to contribute.

But the foundation does more than just raise cash. Members also contribute to the community in other ways during the year. Just this past Monday, the exterior of the Walter Cecil Rawls Library in Courtland was washed clean.

Seeing a need, Barksdale told The Tidewater News on Thursday night that he asked the library leaders if they would like that work done. “They said yes, so we did it,” he said, adding that picnic tables by the site also got a scrubbing. The pressure washing was done through a contractor from Richmond.

“I am really proud of this project, and how well it turned out. Looking forward to continuing to grow our outreach within the community,” Barksdale shared on his Facebook page. “Thank you to Attention 2 Detail LLC, Power Washing & Bennett Flowers for the great work! I am certain Christopher was smiling down on you today.”

Speaking of cleaning, foundation members on March 30 retrieved all sorts of trash from a section of the Nottoway River in town. For the second year, the group participated in the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Adopt-A-Stream Program. Barksdale told the paper that the volunteers cleaned from behind the Methodist church to the Dairy Queen.

John Barksdale with his wife, Alexa, and mother, Esther Francis, standing behind tables of Christmas gifts contributed by foundation members last December. —Submitted John Barksdale

Afterwards, we spent the day as I think Christopher would have — together, catching fish, drinking beers, and telling stories,” he posted. “Very proud of this group and their commitment to community and Christopher’s legacy.”

Then back on Dec. 22, through the county Social Services Department, the group provided gifts to 20 children this past Christmas.

We are so thankful to have been part of such a great cause and to honor Christopher’s legacy in this way,” Barksdale wrote. “Thank you to everyone who continues to support us in keeping his memory alive.”

As was announced earlier this week in this newspaper, nominations are open for the scholarship. This is for a $1,000 grant available to a high school senior that plans to major in the public safety field at either a community college or four-year college/university, or to a college student already enrolled. The studies include criminal justice, though not pre-law, fire science and paramedic and emergency medicine.

Looking ahead, the next fundraising tournament will be on Saturday, June 15, at the Hercules landing off of General Thomas Highway.

For more information on the either the foundation or scholarship, contact Barksdale at 653-8341 or email jbarksdale@jlbpartners.com. To donate to the foundation, make checks payable to CDRMS Foundation, P.O. Box 382, Courtland, VA 23837.