ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Friends, fans, and former teammates helped dedicate a memorial at Macalester College to a former player who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Thirty-four-year-old Clovis Ray was a first lieutenant in the Army. He was killed in March by an explosive device while out on patrol in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan.
Ray played on the football team at Macalester College in St. Paul from 1995-1998.
Most people who enter the armed services do it right after high school or in their 20s. But at 32, Clovis Ray up and left his lucrative banking career because he wanted to serve his country, and didn’t want to regret not doing it.
On Saturday, his friends and former teammates made sure his sacrifice will never be forgotten. Eddie Ray stood on the track, watching the football team rush the field like he and his identical twin brother Clovis did season after season.
“Really mixed emotions…it’s wonderful being here,” Eddie said.
He says his brother always felt at home on a team, and he found his way back there when he became an Army Lieutenant at the age of 32.
“When he was asked to lead the men in a very volatile eastern part of Afghanistan in the Kunar Province, he did that fearlessly and courageous with his team,” he said. “I truly believe that leading a team is who he was, and why he was in this world.”
It was a somber moment as family, friends and former and current players paused during halftime in his honor. Former teammate Andrew Borene says Clovis’ amazing life is one to remember.
“Clovis was really an inspirational leader, a great friend, and we needed to do something to honor his sacrifice,” Borene said.
Next to the scoreboard on the field is now a permanent reminder: a plaque dedicating the flagpole in Clovis Ray’s name.
The American flag was flown at the Army Base he was stationed at in Hawaii.
“This place is very special to us, and so having that memorial permanently on campus is a huge honor,” Eddie said.
An honor that Eddie says brings him comfort, along with knowing his brother believed with all his heart in what he was doing.
“I do again have a peace of mind just knowing that he was doing what he loved to do at the last minutes of his life,” Eddie said.