CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: Richardson’s love for community reflected in many good deeds

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 29, 2002

Any community is more than blessed when it has people who willstep in to get things done, particularly those who don’t mindgiving wherever they are needed without any complaints. HomerRichardson fits that description. He is truly a man of action.

For his numerous efforts to make Brookhaven and Lincoln County abetter place for all, Richardson has been selected The DAILYLEADER’s Citizen of the Year for Focus 2002. He earned therecognition based on nominations and his outstanding communityservice.

There is hardly a community function that one can attend and notsee Richardson. And he won’t be taking a back seat or hiding in thebackground, either. When he gets involved, he makes it a point togive his all.

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“I have served on many committees and boards. And if you want toget something done, you put Homer on the committee, particularlythe active arm of it. He gets things done,” said Tillmon Bishop,Lincoln County Chancery Clerk and former chamber executivevice-president.

Richardson is a native Mississippian who was born in NeshobaCounty. He graduated from Louisiana State University in 1962 with adegree in general studies.

Richardson has been an active member of this community sincemoving here upon his retirement as a safety director with AlliedSignal Company over 10 years ago. His position with Allied led himand his wife Lynn to towns and states across the country, fromBaton Rouge to Delaware. But it was Brookhaven that they chose tomake their retirement home and what they now proudly call home.They have two grown children, Tony and Mark.

The couple visited many areas before retiring, but Brookhavenhad everything they were looking for — some acreage with timber,ponds, creeks and hills, and a house set in the middle, justminutes from a nice town.

Many citizens say it’s people like Richardson who makeBrookhaven what it is.

“He is supposed to be a retiree, but he does more for no paythan most people do for a salary. He is a reward from the retireeprogram,” Bishop added. “Brookhaven and Lincoln County need moreHomer Richardsons.”

Richardson’s list of community activities is much longer thanmany can confess to having. He is a member and past chairman of theKeep Lincoln County Beautiful committee of the LincolnCounty/Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce. As part of this committee,he has worked to control litter and keep the county litter-free. Heand the committee have worked to get illegal dumps cleaned up andeliminated and to educate the public on proper disposal ofhousehold trash. Every two years, he helps organize and put on theHousehold Hazardous Waste Clean-up Day.

“He’s got more energy than any person I’ve ever been around,”said Ronnie Durr, litter control coordinator who has worked withRichardson extensively. “When he puts his heart and mind into aproject, he goes at it all full strength and follows through withit.”

Richardson is also a member of the chamber committee responsiblefor attracting retirees to this community. He helps organize andput on their annual golf tournament to raise funds to aid inretiree recruitment.

He was honored in 1997 with the Soap Box Award, a distinguishedrecognition given by the chamber to honor an outstanding LincolnCountian for contributions toward improving the community throughexpounding a worthy project and furthering its progress withsupport and leadership. The honor is given to very few residents,and it is not awarded every year.

Chandler Russ, current executive vice-president of the chamber,says Richardson is more than worthy of the distinction and a truechampion for the volunteer cause.

“He’s a tireless volunteer and an enormous benefit to thecommunity,” said Russ. “He’s very proficient and always does asolid job on anything he’s asked to do. He’s an absolute joy towork with.”

Also a member of the Brookhaven Trust, Richardson has served asa board member and on various committees as the Trust works topromote the preservation of buildings in the area. He is a pastpresident of the Trust’s Arts Council, which promotes the arts inperformances and exhibits throughout the year. He is involved inTrust efforts to establish a local museum.

He often volunteers his time to help with organizations in thecommunity. He has helped construct sets for Brookhaven LittleTheatre, has participated in work days at the Brookhaven AnimalRescue League canine facility, and has worked on Habitat forHumanity of Lincoln County houses and clean up projects.

Richardson maintains the Internet web sites for Keep LincolnCounty Beautiful, the Brookhaven Camellia Society, and for theSouthwest Mississippi Amateur Radio Club.

He is an active member of the Brookhaven Camellia Society. BothHomer and Lynn have served as show chairmen for two years for thesociety’s annual flower show, which attracts growers from the EastCoast to Texas. He has also qualified as a novice camellia showjudge and will soon complete his requirements to be a certifiedjudge.

Richardson’s labor even extends to the schools. He participatesin the mentoring program in the Brookhaven schools, where he spendsone-on-one time with students outside the classroom.

Despite all of the community activities, Richardson does findtime to entertain himself. As part of his amateur radio hobby, heparticipates in a local ham group that provides emergency radioservice during disasters, such as bad weather or hurricaneevacuations. They hold a field day once a year in conjunction withother clubs across the country to test their preparedness for suchemergencies. This past year the Richardsons hosted the field day attheir farm in the McCall Creek community.

The radio club also holds a jamboree with local Boy Scouts, whenthey contact other scouts around the world. They providecommunication at walk-a-thons and bike-a-thons. He has providedphone patches and relayed messages for people, such asmissionaries, in remote parts of the world as part of his radiohobby.

Another of Richardson’s hobbies is gardening. He is certified asa Master Gardener with the Extension Service and donates his timewith the annual garden fall field day at Gallman and locally aswell. He is also active in a local forestry organization, and hasheld the Forestry Field Day at his farm.

No matter what the opportunity, Richardson covers every basisand is the epitome of a model community volunteer. Retirement isjust the beginning for him and what he plans to continue to do withhis time.

“I I enjoy the chance to work on community projects. I hope tobe active on Lincoln County projects for many more years,” hesaid.

Richardson’s actions around the community speak more than anywords could. He loves his community, and he shows it.