Marguerite Richardson finds a new path for helping veterans
LOVES TO BAKE Marguerite Richardson has brought her love of baking to the Key Chapter of the American Red Cross in Meridian, where she will make cakes, cookies and other treats for military forces overseas. Photo by Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Nov. 13, 2002
Marguerite Richardson never served in the military, but she has been a veteran of service for many years in her own way.
Richardson, 78, retired from the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Jackson in 1990. From 1975 until her retirement she worked as a liaison for patients and medical staff.
Her late husband, Charles, also worked with the VA for more than 25 years.
Although Richardson suffered a stroke two years ago, she refuses to alter her mission in life.
Richardson volunteers at Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center; she volunteers with functions at her church, 15th Avenue Baptist; she is a member of Young at Heart, Order of the Eastern Star, and is a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary and the 2nd Marine Division Association.
Now she has joined ranks with the American Red Cross' local Key Chapter.
Her duties with the Key Chapter include working with Armed Forces Emergency Services, a service that delivers messages from families of military forces stationed overseas. She also cooks for the troops.
Still helping Charles
Because of her work with the VA for many years, Richardson received a Citation for Meritorious Service from the American Legion's National Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission in 1982; she was recognized as Jackson's Federal Employee of the Year in 1983; and was honored by the National Commander of American Ex-POWs in 1986 for her work in assisting former prisoners of war.
Richardson said doing for others, particularly people in the service, is her way of continuing to help Charles, who passed away in 1984.
Richardson, a native of Decatur, met Charles in 1946 after he returned to his home in Union, a decorated U.S. Marine Corps veteran of World War II.
As a private first class on the Pacific island of Saipan in 1944, Charles was part of the landing on Saipan where the United States fought to take control of the island from the Japanese. He was there for 27 days.
One morning after the island was secured by U.S. forces, Charles woke up in his foxhole to find a Japanese officer looking down at him, laughing and holding a Samurai sword.
Charles' rifle and the rifle of his foxhole companion had been lifted out of the foxhole as the men slept. Charles went after the enemy with his bare hands.
Richardson said he was cut across his arms, legs and feet. One of his thumbs was severed before a fellow Marine, hearing the fight, fired on the Japanese officer, who then turned the sword on himself. Charles brought the sword home.