Blind veteran finds inspiration playing golf

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Many have reflected on the loss of loved ones and those who served in the armed forces this Memorial Day weekend. That also includes 89-year-old Earl Richards, an Albuquerque veteran who’s not only reflecting on the loss of those he served with in World War II, but now his eyesight.

Being legally blind, just getting around his home is something of a daily challenge for Richards, but it’s not stopping him from what he loves doing most.

“And then I look forward to golf every Thursday,” says Richards. “Boy I really look forward to that.”

That’s right, with the help of some brightly colored and properly placed objects, Richards still hits the links every Thursday. That’s not too bad for a veteran whose adventures once had him flying airplanes during World War II.

“I was an ordinance instructor teaching them a 17-years-old ordinance,” adds Richards. “And that’s where I got the bug of being a pilot myself.”

After the war, Richards flew his own plane for a number of years until the loss of his sight stopped that some years back. It’s still those early days that he reflects on as well as the friends he lost in the war.

“A lot of them lost their lives in my squadron, I know I’ve lost a lot of my buddies,” says Richards.

For Richards, Memorial Day is personal and each year the number of those he remembers grows. Up until a few years ago, he still had a reunion of the surviving members of his squadron, but with the number of them slowly dwindling, Richards says he’s happy with every day God gives him and every day on the course.

Being an avid pilot, another sad irony in Richards’ life is that he lost his wife and daughter in a plane crash almost 30 years ago. However, he says it’s another reason he’s thankful for every day he has as he approaches the milestone age of 90.

“I’m so thankful that I’m able to get around,” adds Richards. “I’m going to be 90 years old in a couple more months and the thing that I believe in is having goals to reach and being happy in the morning when you wake up.”

On his 90th birthday, Richards says he has plans to be out on the golf course. That’s also thanks to a free round of golf courtesy of the City of Albuquerque.

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