Focus on Community/Arts
Mr. Ray Retires

Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2004


He was just "Mr. Ray" to Chesapeake College students.

Students say Centreville resident Ray Richardson, who recently retired as one of the college’s security guards, took the time to get to know them – and took to heart his responsibility to watch over them.

"Mr. Ray really interacted with us a lot – the nights we worked after hours, he’d talk to us and check on us," said Chesapeake College Student Government Association Vice President Jason Williams. "He was very personable. He didn’t treat it like a student-security relationship. We were all friends."

"Mr. Ray was always very approachable," said Nick Grande, a Chesapeake student who has been active in both SGA and drama productions at the college. "He would volunteer to escort students to their cars after night classes or help with unlocking buildings after hours for student activities or the Peake Players. He is really going to be missed."

Richardson said he enjoyed his 14 years of interacting with students, staff, and faculty members.

"I’m from this area and I knew a lot of the students," said Richardson, whose wife, Beverly, previously worked in Chesapeake’s grants office and whose son, Keith, is currently a grounds/equipment technician at the college. "Then I’d see students back here for their second and third year, and I’d get to know them."

Richardson said one of his main jobs, beyond campus security, was helping to direct wayward students.

"You can tell the ones who are lost by the way they look," said Richardson.

Monte Garrettson, the college’s director of facilities, said Richardson really connected with the college’s student body.

"Ray was great with the students," said Garrettson. "He really cared about them and worked hard to provide a secure environment for them."

Laura Shahan, a Chesapeake College student who works part-time at the college’s Information Desk, said Richardson made it a point to stop by on his rounds.

"He’d stop in when he was coming by and make sure everything was O.K.," Shahan said. "He’s a pretty cool guy. It seemed like he never had a bad day – or if he did, he hid it well."

Amy Childs, a counselor at the college, said Richardson went out of his way to help students in distress. She said one story illustrated that commitment.

"One time Ray saw a student heading toward the parking lot crying," said Childs. "He told her, ’We’ll ride around in the (security) cart a couple of minutes and figure out what’s going on.’

"It turned out the student was worried about a test," continued Childs. "He calmed her down and dropped her off back at her class. That’s how he always was with the students."

"Sometimes I would see a student who was upset and I’d see what was going on," said Richardson. "It seemed to help."

Childs, who is also responsible for student activities at the college, said Richardson made a point to drop in at the regular munch-and-mingles and talk with the students.

"He really went out of his way to get to know students, the staff and the faculty," said Childs.

Linda Earls, an assistant professor of English, called Richardson "Chesapeake College’s caretaker."

"Ray Richardson took care of us all – students, staff, faculty, administration," said Earls. "Whenever there was a need on campus, he filled it. We are really going to miss him."

While Richardson enjoyed those personal interactions, he’s already looking ahead to an active retirement.

"I’ve got plenty to do. I haven’t stopped," said Richardson. "We’re not going to be bored, but I’m going to miss the people."


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