Remembering Hunter Richardson

Published 10:57 pm Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The family of the late Hunter Richardson could easily be forgiven for taking nothing but sadness and bitterness from the 2009 death of their son in an accident caused by a drunken driver.

Hunter was a 23-year-old Nansemond-Suffolk Academy and Virginia Tech graduate who should have been at the beginning of a bright career and a lifetime of memorable experiences. His family had every reason to expect their son would experience all the joy of the adult life that lay ahead of him.

But when he was killed in a pedestrian accident on Thanksgiving weekend in 2009, everything changed, and the life that was lost could easily have translated into a complete loss of hope and joy for the family that was left behind.

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Instead, the Richardson family has found a way to bless others, even from within the pain of their own loss. This is the fifth year the family has held a fundraising drive in honor of Hunter Richardson. The drive benefits the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, as well as the Suffolk Humane Society.

“I feel like it’s amazing that in light of their tremendous loss and tragedy, which I can’t even imagine, that they have chosen to bring light into that darkness by helping people and pets who can’t help themselves,” Kay Hurley, community outreach director for Suffolk Humane, said of the Richardsons’ generosity.

An aunt, Kathy Richardson Shores, speaking on behalf of the family, described Hunter Richardson as “everything you could want in a son, grandson, nephew or friend.” “So many people are challenged to feed their families and care for their pets these days,” she added. “We hope that those who can help will bring items to these locations so that we can help others have a better holiday, and we can honor Hunter’s loving spirit.”

The drive continues through Nov. 30. Nonperishable food items will be collected at Bennett’s Creek Pharmacy, The Market, North Suffolk Animal Hospital and the Suffolk Humane Headquarters. Tax deductible monetary donations also can be made. Designate your gift “In Memory of Hunter Richardson” via check or bankcard to Suffolk Humane Society, 4300 Nansemond Parkway, Suffolk, VA 23435, or The Foodbank of Southeastern VA, 800 Tidewater Drive, Norfolk, VA 23504.

For more information about drop-off locations and preferred items for donation, visit the Remembering Hunter Richardson Facebook page for updates.

It’s inconceivably painful for parents to lose a child who has just begun to carve out his own life. To then take that pain and turn it into blessings for other people is a heroic way to honor that life.