Reaffirmed vows

Published 10:20 pm Thursday, July 24, 2008

DEMOPOLIS — Theo and Kristina Ratliff visited the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nev. in early July where they not only renewed their vows in celebration of their 10-year wedding anniversary, but received a boost to the many charitable efforts in which they are involved.

The couple invited a host of friends and family to the event, requesting that guests who were compelled to give make a donation to the Theo Ratliff Activities Center in lieu of customary gifts.

The biggest gift given came from the National Basketball Players Association, who presented the Friends of Theo Ratliff Foundation with a check for $10,000.

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“I’ve been a part of the union as an executive for the past 12 years,” Ratliff said of his experiences with the group.

The check presentation, made by NBPA Executive Director Bill Hunter, also acted to reaffirm the efforts of Ratliff’s namesake non-profit organization.

“They respect the work that I’m trying to do,” Ratliff said of the players union.

According to the long-time NBA veteran, the funds received during the vow renewal are not expected to be the final gifts presented to the foundation.

“I’m also looking for some more checks from some of my teammates,” Ratliff said of some of the players who have expressed interest in contributing to the multi-faceted work of the foundation.

While specific plans for the funds have yet to be announced, the foundation reportedly has high hopes for future upgrades to the activity center, including the addition of a playground for younger children.

Ratliff’s insistence on contributing to the betterment of others through his foundation has come as a source of pride to his mother, Camillia Ratliff-Eatman.

“It’s like living out a legacy, because this is what I’ve always done,” she said her son’s work. “For him to come back and to make the kind of contribution he’s been making to the city of Demopolis is phenomenal.”

Ratliff-Eatman, who remains actively involved in the work of the foundation, is adamant that the success of the charity’s work is wholly contingent on a partnership between the foundation and community.

“We would like to thank the city of Demopolis and the mayor for having the realization that recreation and education go hand in hand,” she said of the community’s desire to embrace the fundamental principles of the activity center.

However, as Ratliff-Eatman was also clear in her belief that the mission of the foundation is not yet complete.

“Everybody cannot give $10,000. But anything you can give in terms of time or money or a donation is welcome,” she said of the people of Demopolis. “It’s your facility. We would like for the community to join hands to provide services to the kids in the community.”

Construction on the center’s second phase is currently underway.