COLORADO SPRINGS — The local soldier who got to take part in president Biden's inauguration last month was killed while traveling home to Colorado Springs. Now his friends and loved ones are remembering his legacy.
In their time in the army, Cora Rubal and Ruby Maxwell never knew someone quite like Sgt. 1st Class Curtis Ray.
“He was the best man I’ve ever met,” Rubal said. “I’ve never had a sergeant who believed we were family.”
“He was real big on keeping us close,” Maxwell said.
He might have been their superior, but in their eyes, he was much more.
“It was more of like a big brother type feeling,” Maxwell said. “He was always trying to make sure that we were in check, and we were in line.”
Even after their time working together came to an end--their bond stayed strong.
“Curtis was my son’s godfather,” Rubal said. “He was in the delivery room, by my side, the whole time.”
Last fall, Ray received the opportunity of a lifetime.
“While he was in Poland, I was in Saudi Arabia, and we both got back around the same time,” Maxwell said. “And I was like, okay, we’re gonna meet up and see each other and he said, well I’ve gotta go to D.C. to work for the inauguration.”
He was one of a select number of service members chosen to be part of the joint service command in charge of coordinating all military ceremonial support for the Inauguration.
“This was a part of history,” Rubal said. “And his great grandchildren, his great-great grandchildren, it’s amazing that he was there.”
Then earlier this month, he was making the long drive back from D.C. to the Springs when the two got the news.
“Unfortunately he got into a car accident,” Rubal said. “He Ended up in a comatose state from the car accident due to the physical injuries. He was in a coma and started coming out of it, and unfortunately he had a brain bleed.”
At the age of 35, Sgt. Curtis Ray died.
“There are no words,” Rubal said. “I’m going to miss him totally, completely and encompassing… I’m gonna miss him. I’m just gonna miss him.”
Now, Rubal and Maxwell are without their big brother figure.
“I will miss him mentoring me,” Maxwell said.
But they’re taking a page out of his playbook.
“His family, of course, anything they need, we’re gonna be here,” Rubal said.
They’re focusing on what matters most.
“I know, If it had been me in Curtis’ place, he would be with my family 24/7,” Rubal said. “Because that’s the kind of man he was.”
Ray leaves behind a wife and five children. Friends and family attended a virtual military memorial service on Sunday morning. He will be laid to rest at Pikes Peak National Cemetery.