Local 562

Prison union raffle to benefit member in desperate straits

Prison union raffle to benefit member in desperate straits
By Laura F. Alix
Journal Inquirer
Published: Friday, November 20, 2009 12:04 PM EST 

ENFIELD — Correctional employees are organizing a raffle next month to benefit one of their brethren, a former correctional officer who was stricken with brain cancer earlier this year.

Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 391, will hold a “Code Orange” raffle at its holiday party on Sunday, Dec. 6, to raise money for Tim Richard and his family.

In the prison system “Code Orange” means an officer is down and desperately needs assistance, and it’s not hard to see why Richard’s supporters chose that name for their benefit raffle.

Richard’s wife, AnnMarie, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in April. Then in July, the night before AnnMarie was scheduled for a surgical procedure, Tim collapsed in their Monson, Mass., home.

He was diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma multiforme, a rare and often deadly form of brain cancer.

On top of their medical treatment, the Richards are also trying to take care of their three daughters. Sarah, 20, is a junior in college, and twins Christina and Mary-Katherine 17, live with cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.

The Richards have been unable to work since their treatments usually leave them too sick and too tired. AnnMarie has been on sick leave from her job as a registered nurse, and after 22 years of service with the state Department of Correction, Tim officially retired Oct. 1.

Since the onset of Tim’s illness, Correction Department employees have been mobilizing to raise funds for the Richards family and help them out in any way possible.

Before Tim’s diagnosis, for example, he had been planning to build a new patio for the fire pit in his back yard, but was unable to because his treatments drained his strength and energy. Earlier this month, several Correction Department employees stepped up to finish the project.

Their fundraising efforts, including special “Code Orange” T-shirts and a pay-to-park fundraiser, have brought in more than $30,000 since July for the family. With that money, the Richards have been able to pay their bills, buy groceries, and keep up their medical treatments.

Augie Lopedota, a steward for Local 391, helped organize the “Code Orange” raffle that is set to take place next month in Somers at the union’s holiday party for children. The top prize is a 50-inch high-definition television.

Although the party is limited to union members and their families, anyone is welcome to buy a raffle ticket and can do so either by calling AFSCME Local 391 at 860-745-0391 or by visiting the Web site


Tickets cost $20.

Anyone interested in making a monetary donation can send a check made out to “The Richards Fund” to: Local 391, 109 Elm St., 2nd floor, Enfield, CT 06082. Donations will be deposited in a local credit union administering the fund.

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