Deciding to find all the “clean Westerns” he could, and distribute them to local institutions, Ray became a well-known figure at flea markets and garage sales in 1994. Seeing that he was serious about helping, the jail gave him a tour. It was then that Ray saw the magnitude of the need to provide much more material of a higher quality than the romances and murder mysteries currently stored in the jail library. He went to the churches to ask for help and the Prison Book Project was officially birthed. With Ray’s finds and donations from local churches, he exceeded his two-year goal of 1,000 books for the jail by 38,000!
After two more years, in 2001, he was venturing into other countries through missionaries. By November 2002, all 50 states with an estimated 1100 facilities had received books from the Prison Book Project. Beyond anyone’s expectations, the ministry has grown to be one of the most successful prison ministries in the country.