RAINIER — From now on, Jan. 5 will be known as "Chief Ralph Painter Day" in Rainier to honor the beloved lawman who died in the line of duty on that day last month.
"Ralph Painter's legacy to this community is not only physical, but spiritual because of his involvement, dedication and contribution to the life of this city," according to a proclamation Mayor Jerry Cole read at Monday's City Council meeting.
Monday's meeting was the first regularly scheduled council session since Painter's death, and it was an emotional one.
As Cole read the proclamation, some of the council members and several members of the audience wiped their eyes. Cole said he has received several messages from other cities, including one from Longview dated Jan. 13, expressing sympathy for the community of Rainier.
Following the proclamation,the chief's widow, Amy Painter, presented a check for $1,916.50 to Jackie Jones, executive director of HOPE, Rainier's food bank. Ralph Painter had organized the sale of 150 dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts Dec. 19 to benefit HOPE's backpack program, which sends food home with needy children on weekends.
"I just want to say it was a privilege to have known Ralph," Jones said, visibly emotional. "Every time a patrol car drives by HOPE, I think of Ralph."
"We all do," Cole echoed.