I met Richard when I came to Charlottesville, Virginia in June of 2008.
Richard was finishing his term of service with Americorps/VISTA at Charlottesville Abundant Life Ministries (C.A.L.M.) and preparing to enter employment with CALM. I was just beginning my term of service with VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) with CALM and Richard was my supervisor. He was (and is) a college graduate, which is a requirement of all VISTA volunteers, and I liked him upon our first meeting. He is young enough to be my son, but as far as I can determine the difference in our ages has not created a barrier to our relationship.
Since that time, nearly 4 1/2 years ago, we have remained close. I consider him a friend and I hope he feels the same way towards me. We have had many lunch meetings and a few social gatherings at his house which is grandly named “The Manor House.” Discussions of personal romance and politics and religion are not out of bounds with this energetic and outgoing young man. He was born with a heart as large as his home state of Georgia and a maturity to match many others I have met twice his age.
The van I am now driving was purchased from Rich, and on more than one occasion he has helped me out when I found myself in minor financial straits. I have offered him my ear and my advice (for what it is worth) on matters of his heart and I hope that it has been of some comfort if not use to him.
Richard, wherever we may go and whatever paths or lives may carry us down, I will always hold you dear in my memory. Thanks for your vivacity, warmth, and, most especially, your friendship.