By Kevin Mahoney
Most people who are approaching 70 years old are thinking of taking it easy, but Richard Honan, a lifelong Winthrop resident, a Vietnam Veteran and a business owner for 44 years is busy running an operation, which sends packages to our military serving overseas. The packages may contain food, supplies, clothes, or even holiday symbolism, like a Christmas tree!
Honan’s original idea was inspired by a family friend, one who had been serving a tour in Afghanistan, back in 2002.
Kelly Kneeland Dougherty was a good friend with his daughter, and was stationed in Afghanistan. Richard, having served a tour in Vietnam back in 1969, understood and saw this in a different perspective. While he was in Vietnam, almost fifty years ago, communication was very difficult. There were not any of the communication resources that there are today, considering social media, and the rise of modern technology throughout the 2000s.
Richard remembered that, one of the worst parts about being out there was not the worry of being killed. “When I was in Vietnam, I was not so much afraid of dying…but to be forgotten”, he said. And with that thought in mind, he knew that he wanted to send some support to Kelly, to make her happy and remind her that she had not been forgotten.
He continued sending her small care packages filled with food, supplies, etc. Also, he would write to her in letter on a consistent basis, too. This experience inspired him to keep going with the packages and shipping to other military personnel, attempting to reach as many people as possible.
Every package sent was another great chance to brighten somebody’s day. As time went on, his operation grew larger and he began accepting all donations. These are not cash donations but rather, donations of anything that the individual can contribute. He would receive a supply and ship it out for you, to military personnel all over the world. Richard’s military support operation has been running for more than 14 years, and is still active.
Today, Richard sends out these packages to a mailing list of about 21 active military personnel. Back in 2009, when the War in Iraq was peaking, he had an even higher count, about 35 people. Throughout its history, Richard’s small operation has had a very large output. Having shipped over 18 tons of supply overseas, which is the equivalent to 37,000 pounds. Most average-sized care packages weigh between 10-15 pounds total weight.
Some of the heavier ones can be up to 35 pounds in total weight. Honan is very passionate about these acts and takes great pride in continuing the process. “Each box is filled with more than just food, they are filled with support. From me, and the residents of Winthrop, Mass.”, Richard said.
His favorite part about sending these boxes of support overseas is the reactions from the military men and women. “I get a lot of letters back…and it is very fulfilling”, he said. Richard is very committed, very passionate, and diligent in the work that he does for our military serving overseas. 14 years of service, dedicated to seeking happiness for our entire active military this holiday season and every day.
“Honan’s famous quote is “I will put a smile on their heart, a smile on their face, and a smile in their stomach.’