Two Sisters Cities board members retire

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 28, 2005

Suffolk News-Herald

When participants in the Suffolk Sister Cities program came to Virginia from England and Ireland as part of an exchange program, they were strangers.

By the time they left, said cities commission member John Kendale, they were the proud owners of a friendship that would last a lifetime.

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&uot;Being acquainted with the people that came to live in your home was amazing,&uot; said Kendale, who along with Dolly Richards retired from the commission on Thursday after seven years. &uot;We formed so many lifelong friendships.

&uot;We write to them, comparing our grandchildren.&uot;

Along with travel plans, Kendale mentioned spending time with his 4-year-old granddaughter as a reason for retirement. Last year’s exchange program with England and the installation of the Obici-Oderzo fountain as two of his most memorable moments on the commission.

Kendale and Richards were honored with a reception at the East Washington Street Center Thursday afternoon.

After 11 years on the commission, Richards said she decided it was time to let someone younger enjoy the experience.

&uot;I’ve enjoyed working with youths, and reading the essays about why they wanted to participate in our exchange program,&uot; Richards said. &uot;I’m not the kind of person who likes honors but this feels all right.&uot;

The commission will miss their participation, said Chairman Mary Jane Naismith.

&uot;Both of them were very concerned with youths…and they kept us focused. We’ll miss their leadership.&uot;

Flanked by Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett and council members Charles Brown and Curtis Milteer, Mayor Bobby Ralph bid farewell to the retirees.

&uot;They meant a great deal to the Sister Cities, and to this city,&uot; Ralph said. &uot;We wish them a happy retirement. We’ll miss them, but we hope they don’t forget us.&uot;