Calera community mourning loss of 15-year-old Brayden Ray

Published 11:12 am Monday, September 4, 2023

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

CALERA – The Calera community has been shaken to its core after learning of the tragic death of a local 15-year-old in a single-vehicle car accident in the early-morning hours of Sunday, Sept. 3.

Brayden Ray, a student at Calera High School and member of the football team, was driving a vehicle by himself near the Waterford Subdivision off Highway 70 when authorities say the vehicle left the roadway and struck trees.

Brayden Ray, a 10th grade student at Calera High School, has died as the result of a traffic accident. Ray was a member of the Calera High School football team where he played wide receiver.

As news started to spread across social media of Ray’s passing, Calera residents immediately started changing their profile pictures to a picture that reads “Calera Strong #Bray.”

“We are all saddened by the loss of Brayden Ray,” Calera High School Principal Chris Myles said. “He was a young, bright talent within our school. This has been a difficult time for our close-knit community. We will continue to have counseling services available to our students, faculty and staff.”

The school has implemented its crisis response plan, which included meeting with the football team at a practice held early Monday morning. Counselors were on hand to meet with the players and coaches.

Counseling services will also be provided at the school when classes resume on Tuesday morning following the Labor Day holiday.

Across the city of Calera, and Montevallo where dad and former Alabama football player Shontua Ray was from, community support poured in for the Ray family.

Two fundraisers were quickly started through PB & Co. and local resident MB Boujee Boutique. Both are creating shirts for the community to purchase with all proceeds going to support Shontua, Brayden’s mother Shontorshia Grady-Ray, as well as his brother and sister.

“We are Eagles. We do what matters,” read the post from PB & Co. “Eagles are one team and one family. Our family has experienced an unexpected tragedy. When things like this occur, the family takes care of the family. We are taking care of the Ray family who we know and love.”

The shirt they are selling reads “Eagles Strong” with a helmet including the etched 29 on it to represent Brayden’s number with a “Fly As One” outlining it.

Those are just a couple of examples of the support that is already pouring in, as hundreds have changed their profile pictures and posted statements about Brayden.

All have shared the same sentiment, that Brayden was an Eagle through and through and someone with a bright future both in life and on the football field.

This story will be updated as more ways to support the Ray family become available.