Salute to Service - SrA Deanna Richards
United States Air Force
July 31, 1990 – January 20, 2017
Represented by Josh Gordon and LaAdrian Waddle
United States Air Force Senior Airman Deanna K. Richards was born on July 31, 1990, in Framingham, Massachusetts, to parents, Robert and Irene Richards of Ashland, Massachusetts, and brother, Kyle, who was not quite two years old at the time. Her second brother, James, was born three years later. She went to catholic grade schools in Framingham and Ashland and later shifted over to Ashland Middle and High School. During her early school years, she played soccer, was a cheerleader during middle school, and was on her high school's field hockey team.
She loved to snowboard with family and friends. During her grade and middle-school years, Deanna took up piano, step dance, and Irish step dancing. She was also in the cast of the annual presentation of the Nutcracker Suite at Walnut Hill School in Natick, Massachusetts for three years. In high school, she joined the school choir and her parents and brothers enjoyed the annual holiday and spring presentations. Deanna also volunteered at St. Patrick's Manor in Framingham, Massachusetts, helping Alzheimer's patients and other elderly persons.
Upon graduating high school, Deanna went to Suffolk University. Deanna was very interested in criminal justice and visited several colleges and universities before settling on Suffolk University, where she majored in Sociology. Attending a nearby school and residing in the North End with its coffee shops, bakeries, and vibrant street life was a highlight of her college experience. Deanna was a precocious, smiling, and very outgoing toddler, then seeming shyer during her middle and early high school years, before blossoming during her teen years with energy, quick wit and a wonderful laugh and attitude about life. She was always one to give great advice with some sarcasm but always with respect. One thing all remember most about Deanna was that her laugh that filled a room.
After graduating from Suffolk, Deanna joined the Air Force, went through boot camp and was stationed at Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, New Mexico. She served overseas in Kuwait from January through July 2015. She returned back to Cannon Air Force Base at the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron. Stationed at the Command HQ, where she dealt with base logistics and got to know most everyone on base. She was at Cannon AFB when on Friday, January 20, 2017, she collapsed early morning during routine PT and died shortly thereafter despite valiant attempts by her squadron leader, paramedics and doctors to save her.
As she explained to her mother, Deanna was patriotic and wanted adventure and to explore, and to have a full life. In Deanna's words, to live life to the fullest and to never stop smiling. She always followed her dreams.