GULFPORT, Ms. (WLOX) – The Naval Construction Battalion Center Fitness Center now has a new name. It’s a ceremony that hasn’t happened in nearly half a century.
Nearly 11 years after Builder Chief Petty Officer Raymond J. Border was killed in the line of duty, a building has been named in his honor.
The ceremony drew a large crowd outside the fitness center where he spent a lot of his time.
Border’s family was in the front row taking it all in.
“He loved this base and he was in here working out all the time – really into physical fitness,” said his father Craig A. Border. “And for them to name this after him, it’s just really hard to have any words to say other than amazing. It really is. We really appreciate what they’re doing for us.”
But it was what he did for others that defined him. Border’s brother in law, Charles Weaver, served with him.
“There’s some stories that will probably never be told,” he said with a smile. “But, Ray was always a good friend. He was always one of those people that would do anything for you.”
Border was killed by an improvised explosive device on Oct. 19, 2011, while serving in Afghanistan.
He served under Command Master Chief Michael Lopez during his first deployment there. It took Lopez nearly a year to make the event happen. But he said it was worth it all.
“I’m still standing here. Ray isn’t,” he said. “Others like him aren’t. And I think if we have an opportunity to do this, to do something about it, to do something meaningful, it matters to the family. It’s part of our history. Our heritage. I just think you need to do something about it.”
Later in the day, the ceremony continued with a public memorial service at Edgewater Mall in Biloxi. Those gathered at the Salute to the Military sand sculpture, in which the image of Border appears.
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