Veteran Profile – Maurice Richardson
By Anthony Moser
This January, Legends decided to honor our veterans by giving away an autographed polka dot guitar to a service member. He also got free tickets to a Buddy show, where he was brought up on stage and presented with his new axe. He even got to hang out with Buddy before the show! So in honor of all those serving, we give you the story of Maurice Richardson.
Maurice Richardson entered the military on a dare in 1987. A family friend dared him to join on the buddy-buddy program, saying he would re-enlist and they would “go in together”. On the first day he found out that his friend had pranked him: only Maurice had to go to basic training.
That didn’t stop him, and Richardson has been serving ever since. He spent 10 years in the Army infantry. First he was deployed to Iraq and was injured. He came home, recuperated and redeployed. In 2004 he came off deployment and became the head of the military funeral honors program in Illinois; they honor the dead with the playing of taps and folding of the flag. [pullquote]He coordinated honors for more than a thousand funerals a year until he retired at the end of 2012.[/pullquote]
Richardson has been honored as well. He received the Combat Action Badge, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal (for serving in the floods of ’02 in St. Louis), and the Illinois Perfect Attendance Medal, which he received 13 times – once every two years.
“I really got back in tune with blues during the war,” said Richardson. “Eric Clapton, BB King. Every time I hear something I look up the CD. The blues is some great music. My wife she gets a little tired of me playin’ blues all the time.” Richardson has a great love of blues music, and even grew up in the same neighborhood as Eric “Guitar” Davis, one of his favorite local acts. “I just started getting into Buddy Guy this past year,” he told us, “and I was like, oh man, this guy is deep.”
But while he’s proud of his service and he loves the blues, he still says, “My greatest accomplishment is my wife Bennita and my kids.” He has three boys and a daughter.