On Sunday, January 22, 2023, Dewey Destin’s Seafood Restaurant held a Charity Fish Fry at the Northwest Florida Fairgrounds in honor of Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Corporal Ray Hamilton, who was killed in the line of duty on Christmas Eve.
- The event was a huge success, with an estimated 1,500 people showing up to support the cause and raise approximately $20,000 for OCSO Star Charities.
In a video uploaded by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Parker Destin spoke about the event, along with Hamilton’s wife and Chief Deputy Ken LaPee.
“I knew that if we created an environment where folks had the opportunity to show up and let the men and women in uniform know, including Corporal Hamlin’s family, that they care and that they would show up, and that’s a true testament to this,” said Parker Destin, event organizer. “I think every man and woman who puts on the uniform knows that they’re duty bound to go into harm’s way on our behalf. I think that creates a reciprocal duty on us as the community to care for them in the event of a tragedy to help them try to put their lives back together.”
The outpouring of compassion and support was not lost on Corporal Hamilton’s family. His wife, Renee Hamilton, said “I’m completely overwhelmed and grateful for all the support the community has given us.”
OCSO Chief Deputy Ken LaPee also expressed his gratitude for the community’s support, stating “You drive down the road in the pouring rain and we see the parking lot. It brings tears to your eyes to see how this community comes together and show their level of support in a great loss, but man, what a silver lining to see the love and the people just surrounding us at the Sheriff’s office, Renee and her family, and it’s amazing. We live in a great place. I’m so proud of our community.”
Overall, the Charity Fish Fry was a powerful demonstration of the community’s love and support for the men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line to protect us. The event was a fitting tribute to the memory of Corporal Ray Hamilton and a shining example of the kindness and generosity of the people of Okaloosa County.