By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Ray “Mr. Brave” Kinsland has spent a lifetime working with and for the children of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. He was honored for his 57 years of service to the Cherokee Central Schools during a special event at the Charles George Memorial Arena on the night of Tuesday, Feb. 10.
Kinsland was presented with a plaque and a keepsake box containing messages written to him by members of the community whose life he has impacted over the years. A special jersey banner was also unveiled which reads “Kinsland 57 years”.
“I would like to thank everybody here,” Kinsland told everyone after the presentation. “I love you. I appreciate you…I thank the Lord for giving me my life and my health. I thank my family for supporting me all the way.”
Kinsland’s Cherokee name is Di-sde-li-sgi-a-ni-wi-ni which translates as “Helper of Young Men”, a fitting name for the person who helped form the Cherokee Boys Club and served as its first general manager – a position he would go on to hold for 53 years. He retired from the Boys Club in 2011, but has continued his life-long service to Cherokee sports and youth.
“While the Boys Club’s motto is ‘By Prayer and By Work’, their vision always included serving the youth of Cherokee,” said Shawn Crowe who emceed the event on Tuesday. “He (Kinsland) felt, lived and believed as if his number one mission was to support Cherokee Central Schools, the staff, and more importantly, the students.”
Crowe continued, “In two weeks, Mr. Kinsland will be finishing his 57th year with the Cherokee Braves and will be starting his 58th. Individuals with this man’s integrity come around once in a lifetime. The Cherokee High School Booster Club and the Cherokee Central Schools are very proud and humbled to call this man, our friend, our mentor and most of all, an integral part of our Braves family. We are Cherokee by birth, Braves by choice.”
Kinsland graduated from N.C. State University in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. In 2005, he received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Western Carolina University.
Kinsland concluded his comments on the night by saying, “I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I tell everybody that I thank God every day for who we are, for when we are and for where we are. We have a lot of things to be thankful for. I love every one of you.”
To view or purchase photos from this event, visit: http://onefeather.smugmug.com/2015-Community-Events-and-News/Ray-Kinsland-honored-2-10-15/