HUNDREDS TURN OUT TO SUPPORT FALLEN 9TH ENGINEER
The local Sullivan Journal reports:
It has been said that dying so that others might live or so that others might have freedom is the ultimate sacrifice. But that is exactly the sacrifice that Sullivan native and SHS graduate Rick Richardson Jr. made when he was killed June 10, 2009 while serving as a chief warrant officer for the U.S. Marine Corps (UMSC) in Afghanistan.
Richardson, 33, was killed by an IED while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in the city of Delaran, which is part of the Farah province in Afghanistan. There he served as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Officer assigned to the 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan.
While details of Richardson's death have not been released, family members and friends say one thing is for sure - he died doing what he loved, being a Marine and serving his country.
His father, also a Marine, spoke the day his son told him he wanted to enlist.
"I remember the day that he told us he wanted to join the Marines," said the elder Richardson. "I could not have been prouder and I still am today. Besides being my son, there is a bond between Marines that can never be broken. There is an unwritten rule that there is no such thing as an ex-Marine. Even today, I still just tell people that I'm on inactive status."
He received a Hero's welcome.
law enforcement and emergency personnel, as well as strangers, lined the 70 miles of interstate with overpass banners and flags. The showing in this community of 6,500, which hasn't lost a soldier to hostile action in at least two generations, was intense.From the moment that the motorcade, which included the Highway Patrol, Franklin County Sheriff's Dept. and a large contingency of Patriot Riders on motorcycles, exited I-44, hundreds of people lined Hwy. 185 and Springfield Road as the Eaton Funeral Home hearse made its way to Clark and Springfield streets. Many people shed tears as the white Cadillac hearse came to a rest at the mortuary, where his body will reside until visitation begins Friday afternoon.
FOX News also has a story and video here. In that article, the Mayor spoke of Warrant Officer Richardson
"It's a close knit community where people know each other. People have served in the Marines just as Rick did. The Navy, the Army the Airforce, we all go away, we all serve, we all come back to make our community better, and we're going to miss him. And I just hope that everyone keeps his family in their prayers. "
We will, Mayor.
The 9th Eng. Bn. Assoc. Chaplain, Mickey Ryan sent a letter of condolence and a bronze plaque which will be hand delivered to the family by the funeral director.
Visitation will be at the Sullivan Performing Arts Theater at Sullivan High School Friday, June 19 from 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. and the funeral will be Saturday at 10:30 a.m., with burial at Cave Springs Cemetery on Hwy. 185 North following the funeral.
Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke has asked all burial attendees to carpool and to use caution at the cemetery because of limited parking and dangerous traffic conditions.