Vernon Allan Richard was born on October 20‚ 1947 to Juanita Wilcher and the late Harold Richard Sr. in Brooklyn‚ New York. He attended First A.M.E. church as a youth.
He attended the local public school and graduated from Boys High in Brooklyn in 1965 in the top 10% of his class. Vernon was also part of the All City Choir. Vernon pursued his higher education at Kingsboro Community College and Bronx Community College earning 36 credits. In 1967-1969 he served in the United States Army. He spent 13 months in South Korea as a Radio Teletype Communication Sergeant. In 1987-1992 Vernon attended Fire Tech for courses in Fire Science. In 1995 he received a certificate in CPR and became a certified CPR instructor for the New York Fire Academy in 1996.
Vernon married Dorothy Choice on November 28‚ 1970‚ and from this union two children were born: Vernon Allan Richard II‚ and Vernessa Louise Richard.
Vernon was employed with Con Edison in the Bronx before being called to the New York City Fire Department in December 17‚ 1977‚ where he spent 16 years in the busy South Bronx section known as ‘Mott Haven.’ In 1994‚ he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. He was the first black appointed from that list‚ scoring a 95. He was assigned to Tower Ladder 7 at 234 E. 29th Street‚ New York‚ until the dreadful day of September 11‚ 2001.
On September 16‚ he was promoted to Captain on national TV. He was the third black appointed from that list. Vernon was a member of various organizations including: The Vulcan Society‚ the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters‚ and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association of New York City Fire Department. Vernon was also on the board of the Honor Emergency Fund. In early 2001‚ Vernon became involved with the Teamsters National Black Caucus.
In 1994 Vernon and his family joined First Baptist Church of Spring Valley‚ New York. He was ordained Deacon in June 1996. He joined the Male Choir. He was an advisor of the Community Youth Council group of the church. Vernon did a lot of community work with the youth. Vernon also did counseling and outspeaks with Alcoholics Anonymous in the New York Metropolitan and Rockland Areas. Vernon touched many lives.
Vernon believed in keeping healthy. He religiously took his vitamins and worked out diligently each day. He was a member of the New York Road Runners and Rockland Road Runners Club. Vernon successfully ran and completed six New York City Marathons.
Vernon loved his family and friends. His love‚ devotion and loyalty were evidenced by the use of his time‚ talent and treasure. His life was tribute to humanity; he let his good works speak for him. Vernon believed his family to be his foundation‚ and his wife and to children enhanced his life. He is definitely their ‘Hero.’