FRONT ROYAL — Ashley Woodall remembers her son, Michael Ramey, as “a sweet child and not just in the normal little kid way” who “legitimately cared about those around him” and showed it any way he could.
She said that Michael, 7, who died in a June utility vehicle accident, will be remembered as a giving and happy boy who was “wise beyond his years.” Upon receiving birthday money, she said, he would buy his dog and brothers Christmas presents and use the rest to purchase toys for Toys for Tots.
“It wasn’t a like ‘well why don’t you do this or you should do this’...it was a ‘hey mom can I do this?” Ashley Woodall said. “He was just a good kid with a golden heart.”
She said Michael’s giving ways extended to everyday life and “I would be upstairs doing something and he would come up and say ‘mom, I started a load of laundry for you.’”
The Town Council recently declared Wednesday, what would have been his eighth birthday, as “Michael Ryan Ramey Day” by approving a proclamation that states he “bounced through this life creating joy and leaving a trail of epic smiles wherever he landed.”
It adds that he left “an indelible mark on his community through his life and love for others and will be long and warmly remembered by all.”
Ashley Woodall said that Michael admired how his parents served the community as she is 911 dispatcher; his father, Marc Ramey, is a Front Royal police officer; and his stepfather, Joe Woodall, is the Rivermont Volunteer Fire Station’s assistant chief.
“He saw how important that was and he wanted to do that as well when he got older. He wanted to be a police officer and a firefighter when he grew up,” Ashley Woodall said.
Joe Woodall said Michael often hung out at Rivermont and loved everyone who worked there and wanted to be like them.
Joe Woodall added that he met Michael just after his second birthday and “he taught me more about myself than I ever knew” and inspired him to be a better person.
“He taught me how to be a dad. He taught me the true meaning of love between a father and a son, which prepared me for when his brother Jackson arrived,” he said.
Ashley Woodall said that Michael’s birthday being recognized is just one of many ways that the community has poured out support. She said while “you hear so many people talk so bad about Warren County and Front Royal,” the community support after Michael’s death was “phenomenal.”
“I have never seen anything like that in my life and to know that he touched so many peoples’ lives and everybody had such good things to say about him makes me feel like we did something right as parents raising him but it also shows how great this community is,” she said.
Michael will be further honored Dec. 8 when Ressie Jeffries Elementary School plants a tree to celebrate his life.