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Greater Giving Moment

Dr. Mario Ray: Paying it Forward


Dr. Mario Ray grew up in Orange Mound, determined to succeed and defiant of obstacles. He skipped the twelfth grade, went to UT Martin, then medical school, and now is a physician at Regional One Health.

He met his wife at college. She was incredibly close to her dad, Charles Howard: a man who immediately embraced Mario as his own. When Charles Howard passed in 2019, Dr. Ray wanted to honor him by creating a scholarship fund.

This scholarship helps Black men pursue a vocational or technical career. College isn’t for everyone, and Dr. Ray believes in men who choose a different path, like his father-in-law did, with a career in flooring. The fund gives men the change to, in Ray’s words, “get a good living, earn some respect, and turn around and influence their families.”

Charles Howard’s legacy will live on by helping young men pave their way. Who is one person who influenced your life, and what is the best way you can honor them by paying it forward through service?

To read an interview with Dr. Ray and learn more about his story, click here.

To donate to the Charles E. Howard Memorial Scholarship, click here.