Baseball Field Dedicated In Honor Of Fallen DPS Cadet, Former Youth Sports Coach
They say his heart was as big as Texas. The state he loved, its people he protected. Now, those who knew Jimmy Ray Carty, Jr. best are honoring his memory and helping his family.
Last month, Jimmy Carty, Jr. of Grand Saline died of a head injury, while he was training at the DPS Academy in Austin. Jimmy was a former member of the Smith County Sheriff's Department. But Jimmy was also active with youth sports and served as a coach. It's something that led to a ceremony and fundraiser at the Van Baseball Fields on Saturday.
"Jimmy loved the game just like he loved life," said friend Matt Malone. "Every time he was out here, he was happy."
It is the same field where Jimmy Carty taught young boys how to play baseball, where he rooted for his son; The same field that will now bare his name. The field was dedicated in Jimmy's memory Saturday morning.
It's been a month since he passed, but friends and family said they can still feel Jimmy's spirit at the ballpark. He was a father, a husband and to so many, coach. Matt Malone coached beside Jimmy.
"Everyday when I walk in to this ballpark I think about Jimmy," Matt said, "and when I turn and look at the fence, I know he's still with us. He used to show up sometimes in his Smith County Sheriff Department's uniform and would coach third base for me."
"It's an honor," said Jimmy's wife Christy. "These kids just fell in love with Jimmy, just like I did. Everybody just falls in love with Jimmy. To know him is to love him."
On the field where Jimmy called out plays, a tearful reading to the attending crowd from Christy. Jimmy's organs were donated. Part of his life has now saved four others, including the part people said was the most special, his heart.
"A 41-year-old Texas woman, received Jimmy's heart," Christy read from a letter. "She is married with two children."
It's the future of Jimmy's family his co-workers are now trying to look after. A softball game raised money for the Carty family and each player, a trooper or former co-worker, was hoping to hit one for Jimmy.
"We at the Sheriff's department and also DPS are going to do all that we can to support her and support her family," Lieutenant Craig Shelton of the Smith County Sheriff's Department.
Jimmy is gone, but looking around Saturday, it was clear his family has grown. For years to come, young ball players will know the name, Jimmy Carty.
"The thought of being able to come here in 15 years with Justice, our six-month-old, and he sees that this field is dedicated after his daddy that's special," Christy said. "That's something that will always be special."
All of the proceeds from Saturday will go to Jimmy's family. Several donations were presented to his wife during the ceremony, including one from the Texas Teenage Association of Baseball and Softball. It announced that beginning next year, it will hand out the Jimmy Ray Carty Jr. Scholarship.