Will Haggard remembers Rafael Campos as being “just such a great guy.”
“He (Campos) gave of himself to help others,” Haggard said. “He was kind of a quiet guy, but (he) would just literally give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.”
Campos died last February at the age of 52 after suffering a heart attack while playing in a post-season basketball tournament with the Knights of Columbus at the Stephenville Recreation Hall.
Since then, Haggard has led an effort to raise money for a scoreboard to be placed at one end of the gym in honor of Campos.
The scoreboard - with “In Memory of Rafael Campos” on it - arrived and was put on the wall this past week. A dedication ceremony, weather permitting, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday in the Recreation Hall.
Haggard said he led the effort because, in addition to Campos being such a “great guy,” Campos “always had such a love of basketball.”
“It’s a way to help his legacy live on and (will provide) something for everyone who enjoys basketball,” Haggard said.
Haggard said Campos was an “all-around athlete” who he fondly remembers swishing shots over him from farther and farther away as the 6-foot-4 Haggard attempted to block Campos’ shots.
“I counted myself blessed to be on the same team with him,” Haggard said.
Ashley Reynolds, Campos’ daughter, said her “entire family is so appreciative of Will Haggard and everyone else at the Stephenville Recreation Department who wanted to honor my dad's memory with the scoreboard dedication.”
“It is definitely a fitting tribute because basketball was such an important part of his life,” Reynolds said. “He was an exceptional player at Huckabay High School and Ranger Junior College and he continued playing in various city leagues right up until the time he passed away.
“It gave many of us comfort to know that he was doing something that he really loved when he passed on. We are extremely honored that there will be a permanent memento of my dad there in the Rec Hall gym. We can’t think of a better way to honor his love for the game of basketball and we are so thankful to everyone who helped make this dedication possible.”
Reynolds was her father was “such a humble man.”
“I’m sure he would have never imagined that he would be honored in this way,” Reynolds said. “But I can just picture him looking down and taking all of this in. Then, with a shrug of acceptance, a restrained grin, and that special sparkle in his eyes, he'd softly say, ‘Sounds pretty good!’”
Meanwhile, donations are still being accepted, through Texas Bank and the Stephenville Parks and Recreation Department, to pay off the scoreboard. Any additional money will go toward purchasing an Automatic External Defibrillator for use in the gym, said Brenda Brown of SPARD.
DOUG MYERS is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at email@example.com or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.