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Blair wrestling fund has been arranged for the fallen U.S. Marine and champion wrestler Ray J. Mendoza



Karen Mendoza, wife of fallen Marine and former wrestler Major Ray J. Mendoza today announced a wrestling scholarship fund in memory of her husband.

Major Ray Mendoza died of wounds sustained during Operation Steel Curtain on November 14, 2005 in New Ubaydi, Iraq. Ray is survived by his wife, Karen; and their two children Kiana (12) and Aleksandr (8); and brothers Niola and Jermaine Mendoza.

KAREN MENDOZA ON BLAIR:
"I want my kids to get good education and I promised Ray I would follow through with that. Ray enjoyed Blair Academy so much that he wants his kids to experience Blair. In fact, he said it changed his life. I know Blair changed his life. ... Ray believed that his one year wrestling at Blair changed his life. He learned so much on and off of the mat at Blair. Ray's pursuit of excellence and never accepting mediocrity became his focus which was carried from the wrestling room of Blair... to the streets of Fallujah, Iraq to his last days in Ubaydi, Iraq. The high standards that Ray embraced at Blair made him the leader that he was to his Marines. Ray led by example, always looking down the chain of command to make his Marines better. Ray would be honored to have another student given the same life changing experience that Ray had at Blair. Blair holds a very dear place in our family's heart. He already had plans for both of our kids to attend Blair prior to his untimely death; even teasing Coach Buxton if he could retire after Alek graduated. I have great resolve knowing that even with Ray's death; he is still giving to others as if he was still here. That is what Ray would do."

Please consider contributing to the following scholarship fund:

Ray's wife, Karen, has initiated the "Ray Mendoza Blair Wrestling Scholarship" to provide the opportunity for a young athlete, as his mentor, Alex Porter, did for him.

Please send all donations to: 404 Koelper Street, Oceanside, CA 92054. Make checks out to Ray Mendoza Blair Scholarship Fund.

ABOUT RAY J. MENDOZA
Ray J. Mendoza was born April 12, 1968 in Pleasantville, N.J. During his childhood, he moved to the Queens Borough in New York City and graduated from John Adams High School in 1986. Upon graduation, Mr. Mendoza attended West Point Prep and Blair Academy for one-year post-graduate studies.

Ray matriculated to Wilkes College prior to transferring to The Ohio State University, where he was a Big Ten Finalist and 1991 USA University Freestyle Champion. Ray was also a finalist for the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Mendoza entered the U.S. Marine Corps in February 1995 after successfully completing Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Va. Ray served our nation in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where he served as the Commanding Officer for both Headquarters, Service Company and a Rifle Security Company. In 1999, Ray was promoted to Captain in the USMC. After moving up the ranks further (he was now a Commanding Officer) Ray was deployed to Iraq in June 2003 in support of Operation Steel Curtain.
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