Richard and Kyrie, Kyrie and Richard – you can’t say one without the other. They’ve been a dynamic duo for nine years when Richard adopted her as a puppy.
Tucked away in a corner of an American Red Cross shelter in Marrero, Louisiana, Kyrie chews on a toy while laying on a Red Cross blanket, only acknowledging Richard with her eyebrows. Aside from being the best friend he could ask for, his favorite thing about Kyrie is her eyebrows. “She has eyebrows and she’s not afraid to use ‘em,” he laughs.
Richard puts her leash on, and Kyrie excitedly jumps and barks knowing she’s going for a walk.
A Navy brat all his life, constantly moving from state to state and even country to country, Richard joined the Navy himself right out of high school when he was 18 years old. After serving his country for many years, he left the military and decided to become a preacher. He felt there was another calling for him and was driven by the desire to help others struggling in life. He seeks out the homeless population in New Orleans, where he currently lives, to provide them with a listening ear and the guidance of his religion.
Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder himself, he’s seen many homeless individuals struggling with the same from their time in the military. He finds that he and Kyrie bring a smile to their faces – they make the perfect team to brighten the days of those around the French Quarter.
As Hurricane Ida was approaching, Richard knew he would need to find help to keep him and Kyrie safe. A friend of his suggested he look for the Red Cross. He’s been staying in a Red Cross shelter since Hurricane Ida hit and says he’s so grateful the Red Cross took him in especially since he has Kyrie.
After all he’s been through, he still has a cheerful and positive outlook and can’t help but make a joke or two. But with a somber tone, he says, “She’s all I have.”
The American Red Cross has been on the ground in Louisiana prior to Ida making landfall and will remain here until the needs of these communities are met, but we need your help to continue providing relief for those that have been impacted, like Richard and Kyrie. To be a part of our lifesaving mission, visit redcross.org/donate or call 1-800-REDCROSS to make a donation today.
By Siara Campbell, American Red Cross Public Affairs