Deputies make young boy’s dream a reality

Raymond James Ripley Jr. has been diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a type of malignant brain tumor.

The 8-year-old Newell boy, known as “Ray-J,” already has had surgery and gone through radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

He also has lived out a dream, thanks to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.

Less than a week ago, Ray-J was sworn in as a junior deputy of the department. A one-day assignment, Ray-J – dressed in a department uniform and dubbed J1 by Sheriff Ralph Fletcher – took part in duties any other deputy may perform within a day’s schedule.

Partnering with Lt. J.T. Keeder, Ray-J took part in several traffic stops, wrote citations for stop sign violations, directed other deputies from county dispatch center, assisted in a drug search and even arrested a wanted fugitive. The participants in these scripted “activities” were off-duty deputies, who volunteered their time, and other community members willing to help out.

Ray-J also had lunch with his fellow deputies and assisted the department’s K-9 unit on “missing child” at Tomlinson Run State Park. And finally, the young deputy also took part in taking pictures and dusting for fingerprints at a “breaking and entering” at the park’s campground site.

Like many young kids, Ray-J expressed interest from an early age that he wanted to be a law enforcement officer. Lt. Chuck Stanley had been in contact with the family the last few months to schedule the event. It was a great gesture by the sheriff’s department that he was able to live out that dream.

We salute Fletcher, his department and those that volunteered in making a special memory for Ray-J – one that he, his family, and those who took part, won’t soon forget.