Janine Ramer, 16, played varsity softball her freshman and sophomore years at Dalton High School before she died in a traffic crash in January 2003. Twenty years later, some people still keep memorial keepsake cards on them as inspiration. The Howard J. Wenger softball field will be dedicated July 12 during a community event featuring a softball game with recently graduated seniors and alumnae.
DALTON Twenty years after a traffic crash killed a smart, multi-talented Dalton junior with a bright smile for everyone and a heart of gold to match, people still tell her parents about the impression she left on their lives.
Some have told Keith and Flo Ramer, of Dalton, that they continue to carry with them small cards that were printed after her death as memorial keepsakes and contain quotes that Janine Ramer held close to her heart.
The 16-year-old had kept a journal and one of the cards that was printed contains inspirational messages in her handwriting: “Lots of people may have lots of opinions about you. But you’re only playing for an audience of One.” Below it reads: “The greatest tragedy in life is not death but a life without purpose.”
While many friends, family and community members hold memories of the teen, soon others who may not be familiar with her and her story may learn about her and also be impacted by the positive way the spiritual teen led her life.
After years of borrowing village softball fields, Dalton High School’s softball program finally has a field of its own. The field, which is near the heart of downtown Dalton by the library, will be dedicated as the Howard J Wenger Field at 6 p.m. July 12 as a thanks to Wenger Excavating’s donations of time, work and materials. An inaugural softball game between the recently graduated Dalton softball players and alumnae who were invited to sign up will be part of the event.
The softball-loving teen who was a pitcher for the Lady Dawgs and played varsity both her freshman and sophomore years will be honored at the dedication. Janine Ramer’s No. 17 softball jersey will be retired that evening and a plaque will be placed at the field as a tribute to her. The Ramers said the family plans to attend the dedication and they know it will be an emotional night. But Keith and Flo Ramer are faithful like their daughter and they also know their family is embraced with support from the Dalton and Kidron communities, which helps them through the days without their youngest daughter.
“One of the things that helped us through that time was our faith, and the many people in our church, and the Dalton/Kidron communities, and our families that walked with us,” Keith Ramer said.