Charity fish fry held for fallen sheriff’s deputy’s family in Okaloosa County

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 10:21 AM CST
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Okaloosa County, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The recent loss of an Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputy is causing the community to come together.

Corporal Ray Hamilton was fatally shot Christmas Eve while responding to a domestic violence incident.

Dewey Destin’s Seafood Restaurant held a charity fish fry at the Northwest Florida Fairgrounds Sunday afternoon.

The money raised at the event goes toward The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Star Charity. The 501-c3 is “dedicated to assisting the employees of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office with unplanned life changing events,” according to its website.

“I think over Christmas we were just all so heartbroken over the loss of Corporal Hamilton that a bunch of folks in Destin said, ‘Why don’t we do a fish fry?,” said Dewey Destin’s Seafood Restaurant owner Parker Destin.

Hamilton’s wife Renee Hamilton said there will always be a missing piece in her family’s life. However, she said events like these help the community remember her husband’s legacy.

“It’s actually overwhelming,” Renee Hamilton said. “The line is out the door and I just feel so much love and support from the community. It’s absolutely amazing.”

Destin said his goal was to raise more than $15,000 for the Hamilton family at the fish fry.

However, Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Ken LaPee said the event is more than just the money.

“To me, that’s probably not the most important thing,” LaPee said. “The most important thing is people are coming out and showing their love and support. We’re coming together.”

Hamilton’s wife thanked the community for all of their efforts.

“I’ve been getting prayers, condolences, just so much love from this community,” she said. “It’s just been carrying me through. Absolutely.”

NewsChannel 7 was told around 2,000 people went to the event.

You can help the Hamilton family by clicking on this link.