This week will be the last one before our Team member, Richard Denninger, leaves to return home to New York. Richie came to Charleston shortly after June 18, 2007 to help organize an effort to respond to the needs of the CFD after the tragic loss of the Charleston 9. Richie spent 27 years in the FDNY before retiring and returning to their Counseling Services Unit after September 11. He brought a wealth of information, experience, compassion, and his bagpipes to us when he arrived in Charleston and we are all better for it. Richie has been instrumental in the success of our program as he developed the CFD Peer Counselor Team, a group of active duty CFD members who serve our membership on a daily basis. It is impossible to look at any part of our program without seeing Richie’s influence. His leadership and expertise in developing and presenting our Behavioral Health Workshops and Peer Training programs have set the tone for the future of our Team.
From a personal viewpoint, Richie has been our friend, our mentor, our counselor and, most of all, our brother. While we are saddened by Richie’s departure, we will keep him close in our daily thoughts and will look forward to him visiting us periodically to help us with training.