MANSFIELD, Ohio (AP) — Walker Ramsay couldn’t make it to the Richland County fair this year, but his spirit was alive and well during the Aug. 13 livestock auction.
The 17-year-old Crestview Future Farmers of America member had been raising a hog for the fair before he died unexpectedly of a seizure in his sleep May 29, said his father, Greg Ramsay. Walker would have been a senior at Crestview this year.
In the midst of their heartbreak, the Ramsay family decided to finish what Walker started. They asked Walker’s vocational agriculture teacher Joel Albright and fair board member Dave Grauer for help and permission to go ahead and show Walker’s project, with the intention of selling it to raise money for a memorial scholarship fund. They agreed.
Walker’s friend, Justin Bond, showed the hog in Walker’s place.
When it came time to sell the animal, the show arena was packed with bidders and spectators, including the entire Crestview football team, of which Walker was a member. Walker was a three-sport athlete, also playing baseball and basketball.
The bids started high and soared even higher, with winning bidder Phillips Manufacturing eventually paying $12,000 for the hog.
And then the add-ons began coming in. The Crestview FFA Buyers Club pledged $5,200. Sportsmans Den gave $2,000. Gifts poured in from Shelby Buyers Club, Mechanics Bank, Milliron, Schroeder Farms, and many other businesses and individuals.
Add-ons kept coming in throughout the afternoon, with the total amount raised exceeding $35,000 shortly after the sale. The entire proceeds will go to the scholarship fund as the livestock committee decided not to take a portion of the sale amount.
The generosity of the community brought the family to tears.
“We knew we had a lot of support, but nothing like this,” Greg Ramsay said. “It just proves what kind of a community we live in.”
Following the auction, members of the football team, the Crestview FFA, the livestock committee and others lined up to hug the family.
Greg expressed his gratitude to the community for their support and said he would want people to continue to remember his son for his bright smile.
“Everybody talks about his smile,” Greg said.
Information from: News Journal, http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com