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Sonny Richardson

Sunday, September 30, 2012

By HOLLY KOZELSKY - Bulletin Accent Editor


Bulletin Accent Editor

Happiness fills the room when Sonny Richardson walks in.

Warren “Sonny” Richardson (in his case, it should be spelled Sunny!) always is seen with a smile on his face and laughter in his voice. His cheer is contagious.

Recently I asked him why and how he always is so happy. Does he work hard on maintaining a positive outlook, or does it just come naturally?

“I can’t help it. It’s just me, I guess,” he replied — with a smile and a chuckle, of course.

Perhaps the secret behind his smiles is his appreciation of people.

“I can talk to anybody,” Richardson said, and easily “carry on a conversation. We can just talk, talk, talk.”

He’s just the type of fellow you’d feel comfortable entrusting your kids to, which makes his post-retirement job ideal: He’s a bus driver for Henry County. The DuPont retiree has been driving buses for 12 years. He also is the post commander for American Legion Homer Dillard Post 78.

His wife, Juanita, is retired from Tultex, and she worked at Flowers by Linda for many years, he said. The couple have two children, Pamela Richardson Greenfield of Long Beach, Calif., and Donald Richardson of Mechanicsville. Their son has three children.

Their son and daughter mostly take after him when it comes to a buoyant attitude, Richardson said. Sometimes, his wife of 40 years may roll her eyes at the constant cheer.

“When I get up in the morning I’m like this and she’s in all kind of pain and will go, ‘There you go! Nothing will bother you.’”

His life hasn’t been free of trials. He served in Vietnam in 1971, where he flew on a CH-47 Chinook helicopter as a door gunner and a flight engineer.

He maintained his positive outlook, which helped his fellow soldiers get through the difficult conditions. They “just globbed all around me. They wanted to be around me all the time,” he recalled.

How does a happy man like Richardson deal with bad days?

When things aren’t going his way, “I just like to sit and be quiet,” he said. “As soon as someone comes around it doesn’t take but a second or two and I’m back to talking. I don’t think anybody’s told me, ‘Man, what’s wrong with you?’

“The only bad time I have is for a few hours when the Pittsburgh Steelers lose,” he added with a grin.

The key to getting along in life, and with others, is communication, Richardson said. Pay attention to people and share a laugh with them, he advised.

“Communicate with people more often,” he said. “If you communicate with people and you enjoy communicating with people, you won’t have time to be sad.”


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