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The son of an Owen County couple was among those recently honored at the Kentucky National Guard’s Outstanding Soldier and Airman of the Year Banquet.
Specialist Nicholas Ray, 25, competed against others at the unit and higher echelon levels before winning the state level competition held last fall.
The banquet highlights the top enlisted guardsmen for U.S. Army and Air Force.
Ray enlisted in the Kentucky Army National Guard on Feb. 27, 2009 and attended Military Police OSUT at Ford Leonard Wood, Mo.
Upon completion of basic training and advance initial training, Ray was assigned to the 617 Military Police Company in Richmond. Seeing this would cause a shortage of medics within his company, Ray volunteered to become a combat medic. He graduated the class with honors.
In 2011, Ray deployed to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn. During his deployment, his unit was part of support for the United States Forces Iraq-USFI.
Upon completion of his deployment, Ray returned to the Eastern Kentucky University where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in construction management.
Most recently, Ray was selected for a promotion in the grade and rank of E5 (sergeant).
Looking to the future, a long-term goal for Ray is completing the special forces qualification course.
Ray is the son of Thomas and Lula (Stivers) Ray, brother to Holly Ray and the grandson of the late Earl and Cora Stivers of Squiresville.
He is a 2006 graduate of Franklin County High School.