HOPEDALE - Memorial Day will find Don Richards busy attending and taking part in services in Cadiz, New Athens, Moorefield and Hopedale, and likely some other cemeteries as well. He was involved in putting flags on the graves of veterans for the military holiday and at one time installed a tall pole so a flag could fly at the Bethel Church Cemetery.
Retiring from Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel in 1995, after 44 years, didn't free up any extra time for Richards, he just kept adding more activities to his schedule.
Two of the organizations where he is extra busy have honored him with awards this year - the Cadiz American Legion Post 34 and the Hopedale Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7477.
RECOGNITION – Don Richards has two awards of distinction for his service to the Cadiz American Legion Post 34 and Hopedale Veterans of Foreign War Post 7477. The U.S. Army veteran has had 48 years of service at the Cadiz post, where he was honored as Legionnaire of the Year, and to the Hopedale VFW where he is a life-long member. -- Esther McCoy
Richards was drafted into the Army in 1953, but action in the Korean War didn't come about, as it ended as he was being transported to Japan.
The Cadiz American Legion honored him as Legionnaire of the Year for 48 years of service to the post and his loyalty and devotion. The Hopedale VFW honored him for his outstanding service in his life-time membership and for the work he has done there.
Richards is a member of the Jefferson County Veterans Association that meets at the Fort Friendship Veterans Museum or the Friendship Park office.
MIlitary organizations are not his only causes. Over the years he has coached Little League, is a member of the Harrison Central Boosters Club, life member of the Jewett Sportmans Club, attends Hopedale United Methodist Church and is a trustee for the Harrison Reclamation Coal group, helping with the annual auction of coal-related items as a fundraiser.
He also attained the distinction of being part of the Harrison Central Hall of Fame.
When asked if his wife, Diana, helped with any of his causes, she replied, "No, I just let him go out and do his thing."
Richards played an important part in building Mazeroski Field at Sally buffalo Park and helped with coaching duties for the Legion team after his retirement from Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel. He still takes care of the field but doesn't do the mowing.
The couple has two children, Michael of Cadiz, and a daughter Melodye Sinclair of Utah. They have five grandchildren.