Celebrating a Legacy of Honor, Kindness

James “Jim” Bray was many things – a husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, entrepreneur, realtor, Army veteran, leader, mentor and friend. He also was an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouts and one of his most treasured accomplishments.

After the loss of Jim in 2015, his company – Cutler Real Estate – who he often referred to as family, chose to honor his memory through an endowed scholarship. Jim served as a realtor with Cutler for 49 years and as Cutler’s president for more than 30 years. With the company’s vision and help from Stark Community Foundation, The James L. Bray Eagle Scout Scholarship Fund was created to provide scholarships for fellow Eagle Scouts graduating from Jackson High School.

“We (Cutler Real Estate) were thinking about a way to honor his memory and involvement in the community and supporting the Boy Scouts seemed to be a great way to do that,” said Jim Camp, partner of Cutler Real Estate. “Jim lived in Jackson Township practically his entire adult life and was heavily involved in the schools and community. Plus, he had a love for scouting. That’s where we came up with the idea to create a scholarship fund that would combine those three things – Jackson Township, Jackson High School and scouting.”

When Jim’s daughter, Amy, heard that a scholarship fund was established in her dad’s honor, she was overwhelmed and “so incredibly proud.” His wife, Penny, shares the same sentiment.

“When my dad passed away, it turned our whole world upside down,” said Amy. “It’s nice now to tie something positive to something that was so gut wrenching. It really helped us to heal.”

His grandchildren, Brandon and Carrie, were the apple of his eye and he dedicated much of his time to them. In fact, Brandon joining Cub Scouts is what re-kindled Jim’s love for scouting.

“My dad loved scouting,” said Amy. “Growing up, I’d hear tidbits about his experience in Boy Scouts. My husband was involved in scouting too. When my son became a Cub Scout, they both jumped right in. It was a great bond they shared.”

Jim’s dedication earned him the 2015 Outstanding Eagle Scout Award from the National Eagle Scout Association, which recognizes notable Eagle Scouts of distinguished service at the local, state or regional level.

Each year, a committee made up of local residents, realtors and scouts reviews scholarship applications. They take into consideration the students’ academic achievements, community involvement and commitment to scouting, including their Eagle Scout Service Project, a project that allows a scout to put all of his training into practice.

The applicants’ service projects have been diverse, ranging from building a bike repair station at a local park to constructing a pond at an area YMCA. Another project was geo mapping fire hydrants in Alabama – a project that proved to be lifesaving when a fire station was able to respond quicker to a fire because it had immediate access to where the closest fire hydrants were located.

“The quality of these young men who are getting my dad’s scholarship ... they are all philanthropic, outgoing and good people,” said Amy. “That’s really who my dad strived to be. He always looked for the good in people.”

The committee this year decided to allow children of Cutler Real Estate employees to apply, something they felt Jim would have wanted given his care and commitment to the Cutler family.

Since the scholarship fund was established, $11,500 has been awarded to help 16 students pursue their educational dreams.

“I love that his name is still out there,” said Amy. Jim added, “His legacy will continue forever.”

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