Opp group wants field named for Kem Ramer

Published 1:40 am Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Almost 21 years after the disappearance of Opp native Kemberly Ramer, her family has launched an effort to have the Opp High School softball field named in her memory.

April McDaniel, a close friend to Sue Ramer Infinger, Ramer’s mother, spoke to the Opp City Council Monday night to inform them of what they are trying to do.

“Sue was a mother to two young girls,” McDaniel said. “Girls that she has always been proud of and two girls that she loves with every beat of her heart. A bond between a mother and her child is a bond that is developed from the very moment that the mother finds out that she is pregnant and is meant to last a lifetime. From the very first heartbeat, the very first time the baby gazes into her mother’s eyes or clings to her mother’s finger, to the child’s very first steps on their own, the first day at school or when they are ready to spread their wings as they make their first steps as an adult towards their future and down the aisle as they get their diploma. This day is supposed to be the beginning of the rest of their life, but my friend Sue, never got the chance to watch her baby walk down the aisle and get her diploma. Instead, she was putting up missing posters with her daughter’s senior portrait.”

McDaniel said that Ramer was robbed from her very own childhood, and Infinger never got the chance to experience the mother-daughter bond.

“Kemberly Ramer was a southern beauty that lived right here in Opp,” McDaniel said. “She was a bright student that any parent would be proud of. It wasn’t hard to be drawn to Kem. She was a loyal friend  that had a bubbling personality that could pull anyone in. She was very athletic, cheering and playing softball and she was good at it. She played softball in the Opp Women’s League as well as on the Opp High School girls softball team.”

Since it has been 21 years and they still do not have the answers they would like, McDaniel said that they at least want something to forever remember Ramer by.

“I went to social media on Saturday and had hundreds of votes to rename the Opp High School softball field after Kem,” McDaniel said. “She spent countless nights at that field playing and winning for her team and it was one of the last places that she was at the night she went missing. It was the last place that a lot of her friends saw her smile or heard her laugh. Kem was a legacy to her team, a legacy to her school, but most of all she was a legacy to her family and friends. The citizens of Opp and I would love to start a nonprofit in honor of Kem to pay for the expenses of putting up a sign that says ‘Kemberly Ramer Memorial Field.’”

Opp Mayor Becky Bracke said that she completely agrees with renaming the field, but doesn’t believe that the city has the authority to change the name.

“I kept Kristin and Kem at the daycare and I graduated with Sue and Kenneth,” Bracke said. “It is honestly hard to believe that it has been 20 years since it has happened. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I am not to sure how somebody even goes about naming a field after somebody. Usually it has to do with somebody who has given money or somebody who has put a lot of work into the city, but I don’t even know if it has to be approved by the council. We have been trying to do some research and find out who makes this decision. I think we are going to look into how we can do it and what we need to do so we can make this happen. We may have to talk to the high school or Mr. Smithart the superintendent to see if they are the ones that approve it.”