"I am not afraid to die. I know my job in heaven will be watching over the young angels." -Richard
After he was diagnosed HIV positive, at the age of 32, Richard resigned his position as Adolescent AODA Counselor and moved home near his family to be surrounded by the people closest to him. Throughout the six years that followed, he struggled with isolation and secrecy in the community where he lived to protect his family from harassment. It was, however, extremely important for Richard to talk openly and honestly with those he trusted while facing his life and death with dignity and courage. Richard continued to protect his parents and family from the kind of harassment experienced by another family living within their rural area whose loved one also lived and eventually died from AIDS. At the age of 38, Richard told his brothers and sister the truth about his illness. They accepted and loved him. Three weeks later he died with his family surrounding him. He was one of the lucky ones. He did not die alone. Richard's courage and willingness to share his pain, dreams, and hopes has inspired the motivation and drive to provide others the acceptance, understanding, and a supportive home environment so many people do not have. Richard's sense of warmth, giving, and humor will continue to live in the care and acceptance of others.