Roller Coasters and Choir
Vernon Richard, his wife, Dorothy, recalled, "loved anything that had to do with roller coasters." His daughter, Vernessa, a college student, recalled the same thing.
"When I'd come home for the summer, we'd go to Great Adventure," Vernessa Richard said, "and he'd look up at the roller coaster and go 'Wow! Let's go on that!' The excitement on his face!"
Lieutenant Richard, 53, was a 24-year veteran of the Fire Department. A member of Ladder Company 7 in Manhattan, he was to have been promoted to captain in November, an elevation that occurred posthumously. A weight lifter and jogger (he ran six New York City Marathons), he sang in the choir at the First Baptist Church in Spring Valley, N.Y., near his home in Nanuet. His voice , a deep baritone, was memorable.
"When I played high school ball, and there were maybe 500 people in the stands, I'd hear nothing but his voice," said his son, Vernon II. "He'd be saying, 'Go to work, Vernon.'"
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 13, 2001.