Southern Indiana Living

MAY-JUN 2018

Southern Indiana Living magazine is the exclusive publication of the region, offering readers a wide range of coverage on the people, places and events that make our area unlike any other. In SIL readers will find beautiful photography, encouraging s

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Page 30 of 51

May/June 2018 • 31 Serving today and to those who have served in the past, we honor you today and every day. Ray Cottrell Sr. • Command Sergeant Major Purple Heart Recipient • Silver Star Recipient Ray H. Cottrell Sr. held many titles throughout his life —husband, father, soldier, Command Sergeant Major, car salesman, car dealer, horse owner, chairman—but there has always been one constant in his life: his love of family, love of country, desire to serve and to treat ev- eryone the same—regardless of who they are or where they came from. Born on May 11, 1933, in Richmond, Virginia, Raymond H. Cottrell Sr. grew up in modest surroundings during the Great Depression, but this was not an indicator of the life that was ahead of him and the events that would unfold. At 16, Ray joined the National Guard, telling them he was 17, the legal age to join at the time. Rising through the ranks to CSM (Command Sergeant Major E9), Ray's 23-year career took him to Korea, Vietnam (for two tours), Germany and various other military posts around the globe. Along the way he founded the Rat Patrol and was awarded almost every medal that a soldier can earn, including the Purple Heart and Silver Star. Returning to Fort Knox, Kentucky, in 1972 as an E9 CSM, Ray was offered the command of a nuclear missile in- stallation in Germany. Ray and his wife, Lovell, decided that it was time to retire from the Army, and he did just that. They made their home in Radcliff, Kentucky, just outside Fort Knox with their two children, Ray Jr. and Brenda. Ray started selling cars for a local Ford dealer close to Fort Knox. This job evolved into Ray opening his own used car lot in 1977 in Muldraugh, Kentucky, aptly named Ray's Motors. He was quite successful, and in 1979 Ford Motor Co. offered him the opportunity to open his own Ford dealership. Over the years he added franchises by opening RC Ford-Mercury in Corydon, Indiana, and Ray's Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Hardinsburg, Kentucky. Ray was on the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Commission, the licensing and enforcement agency over all new and used car dealers, serving as chairman under six gover- nors since 1988. He also worked with the Ford Dealers Advertising Fund. Ray's continued involvement and support of the mili- tary includes being a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars where he served as post commander of the Bran- denburg chapter of the American Legion. His support of law enforcement throughout the community had been strong, partly due to being a part of the Military Police. In the 1980s Ray's love of horse racing made him be- come a thoroughbred racehorse owner. Ray went on to own many racehorses, including entries in the Kentucky Derby in 1990 and 1991. And in 2006, Ray owned the winner of the $1 million Louisiana Derby. Ray was always a strong supporter of local charities and various organizations throughout the community. In 1998, Ray and his son Ray Jr. attended a local auction of a youth baseball field. The youth baseball organization had raised $9,000, and Ray was expected to be the high bidder. Unfortunately, other bidders had different plans for this longtime youth ballfield, and the price kept climbing. Unknown to Ray's son, who was part of the youth baseball organization, when the bid passed the $9,000 amount, Ray started bidding against the other bidders, ending up as the high bidder at a price over $25,000. Ray remarked to the opposing bidders that they might as well quit bidding because the property was going to remain a ballfield. He then leased the property to them for $1, ensuring that it would remain a youth baseball field forever. This was a game Ray always wanted to play as a child. Ray passed away Feb. 5, 2018, at the age of 84 and we shall never forget that he fought for our freedom. Background image by Jannoon028/Freepik

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