Remembrance of a Colleague, by a Fellow Bond Enforcer
Earlier this week, I learned of the passing of an old friend: Ruffin W. Blaylock passed away from complications of an ongoing illness.
Ruffin was truly a man of adventure. Although I knew him through the bail business, I understand that earlier in his life he had traveled the United States extensively and had worked out West for some time on a cattle ranch as a horse wrangler before settling down in his native state of Alabama to become a private investigator and bail enforcement agent. I hear that he will be laid to his final rest there later this week.
I first met Ruffin several years ago when I was serving as the director of continuing education for our state bail association. In that position, I was responsible for creating the classes for continuing education for all bail and bail enforcement agents in Tennessee. As this was the first class directed solely to the enforcement side of our industry, I was determined to present the best curriculum possible.
To guarantee that the class would be well received, I reached out to three of my friends to help me teach: Scott Olsen, then director of the National Institute of Bail Enforcement; L. Scott Harrell, founder of the National Association of Investigative Specialists; and Scott MacLean of the famous Chesapeake Group and the senior instructor for the National Association of Bail Enforcement Agents. Alone, all of these men have trained hundreds, if not thousands of bail enforcement agents, so their presence as a group was certain to cause quite a buzz in the industry. And it did. Interest was not only great around the state, but all over the southern United States.
The morning before class, I was approached by a soft-spoken, powerfully-built man who introduced himself as Ruffin Blaylock. He apologized for what he called his “intrusion” but asked me if all the speakers were, in fact, going to be present. I assured him that they were all there, and that I was on my way to have breakfast with them—would he like to join us?
It was easy to see that he was torn between not wanting to intrude and really wanting to meet these three gentlemen. It was and is understood that to count even one of these three as a friend or mentor is like a Golden Ticket into the inner circle of the professional realm of our industry. As they had never before appeared together, it was almost unheard of to personally know all three of them. Curiosity and desire won out: Ruffin accompanied me to breakfast and, thanks to his sincerity and winning personality, quickly won over these men whom he obviously admired.
Over the years, Ruffin solidified the relationship by establishing himself as go-to guy in bail recovery operations and also as a very knowledgeable source of information for tactics and laws concerning our industry. He performed several successful recoveries for me and saved me thousands of dollars in the process.
I will miss Ruffin, as I’m sure many of us will. He has now left our ranks here on Earth to join those other great ones who have preceded him. I take some measure of comfort in knowing that he is no longer suffering, and that he can rest in peace with the knowledge that those of us left here will continue on. I think Ruffin would have liked that.