Ramer remembered on Internet

Published 11:21 pm Friday, August 15, 2008

Fri., Aug. 15, marked 11 years to the day since the mysterious disappearance of Opp teenager Kemberly Ramer, but family and friends have found new ways to ensure her spirit and influence is never forgotten.

Family and friends hope that a MySpace profile created by brother-in-law, J.C. Alford, and a memorial scholarship created by her mother, Sue Ramer, will help Kem’s story reach a greater audience and allow her spirit to continue to influence the lives of others.

Mrs. Ramer said she was touched when Alford offered to build the page in Kem’s honor.

“He just did it mainly for me,” she said. “It was sort of a remembrance. It has really meant a great deal to me to see just how many people care.”

Alford, who is the husband of Kem’s older sister Kristin, said he created the page to help spread Kem’s story to a wider audience.

“Everybody I spoke to had MySpace pages,” he said. “They kept telling me I needed to start a MySpace page. One day I received a message from a little boy saying that all he wanted was a million friends. The message said he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and that was his wish. I thought it would be nice to create a page for Kem.

“I made it for two reasons,” he added. “The first was to get more exposure. Her information and story will be available for more people. The second reason was for her friends and all the people who knew Kem to get together and remember. I believe it will help out. It does Sue a lot of good to read some of the comments on there.”

Alford said the page has received several visits and added many friends during its short three-month existence on MySpace.

Visitors to Kem’s MySpace page will also learn of a memorial scholarship created to honor Kem, which Ramer said was awarded to a graduating Opp High School senior for the first time last year.

“I wanted to do something in her name that would help someone else,” Ramer said. “That was the only thing I knew to do. Kemberly wanted to go to physical therapy school so I created a scholarship for students who wish to pursue a degree in the medical field.”

Ramer said that family members presented the $1,000 scholarship to Abbie Foster personally last year.

The Kemberly Ramer Scholarship, as well as several other scholarships provided annually by the Opp City Schools Foundation, depends directly upon the generosity of the community.

Trey Burgess, president of the Opp City Schools Foundation, said the Foundation survives through generous annual donations from local city and county businesses, but Opp residents can also pitch in to help further the education of Opp graduates.

“One of the best ways people can help is through the city of Opp utilities department,” he said. “Residents can opt to round up their utility bill to the next dollar amount and donate the difference to the Foundation. Right now that provides about $500 a month to our scholarship fund. If more people were willing to do that, then we could provide even more assistance to our graduates.”

The OCS Foundation awards more than $7,000 in scholarships to Opp graduates annually and, according to Burgess, each scholarship recipient is carefully selected.

“The committee really tries to be fair and really evaluate the applicants,” he said. “We ensure that the scholarships are awarded to applicants who truly need the money and who we know will definitely complete their education.”

Kemberly Ramer Scholarship donations may be made to the Opp City Schools Foundation, P.O. Box 840 Opp, AL, 36467.