In the presence of dozens of his father's friends, family and former colleagues, 16-year-old Drew Kot cut the ribbon officially dedicating the area in front of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort as the Ray Kot Memorial Park.
Ray Kot, a longtime Taj shift manager, was shot and killed May 27 in a back room off of the casino floor, allegedly by a disgruntled gambler from Pennsylvania. But Kot's wife, Nancy, told those assembled Tuesday morning that "we hope not to remember him for the way he died, but for the way he lived."
Kot, a "day one" employee at Resorts before joining the Taj in 1990, will also be honored by the city of Atlantic City on Wednesday, when Councilman William Marsh will introduce an ordinance to name the section of Pennsylvania Avenue between Pacific Avenue and the Boardwalk as "Ray Kot Place."
"Drew and I couldn't be more proud," said Nancy, of Egg Harbor Township. "When Trump executives initially told me of their plans to set aside a public space, I was touched and honored. But I couldn't help but feel hesitant. Ray was a man who was humble and with quiet reserve, and he would be uncomfortable and embarrassed by this attention. But his family and I graciously accept this honor for him."
"We are overwhelmed by this showing of love and support for Ray," she said. "Overwhelmed, but not surprised."
The plaque at the center of the park, engraved with an image of Kot, describes him as "a consummate gentleman, friend and colleague." The commemorative brick pathway leading up to the plaque will include bricks with personalized inscriptions, with all proceeds to benefit the Ray Kot Memorial Fund to help further the education of his only child, Drew, a St. Augustine Prep student who performed along with the school's stage band at the ceremony.
"The gift of Ray's life and the senseless way he was taken from us is a shared loss," Nancy Kot said. "I can think of no better way to honor Ray than to benefit his only son, who was his life and his sole purpose for all his life's work."