Richard was born in the Panama, Canal Zone. He attended both The Citadel and the University of South Carolina graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree. Richard spent 20 years in the United States Marine Corps, retiring as a Major. He is a Vietnam War veteran. During his career with the Marines he attended and received a Master’s Degree in Management from The Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. Richard also spent 30 years as a volunteer firefighter and paramedic, rising to the rank of Fire Chief in Stafford County, Virginia. He also served for a number of years as the President of the Stafford County Fire and Rescue Chief’s Association. Following his retirement from the Marine Corps, Richard embarked on a second 20+ year career as a career firefighter and paramedic with Fairfax County, VA and retired as a Lieutenant. During his career as a firefighter/paramedic, Richard also worked in his off-duty hours as a State Certified Instructor, training firefighters, EMT’s, Cardiac Technicians and Paramedics.
Richard, and his wife Laura, began rescuing potbellied pigs in the late 1980’s. Their first rescue effort was on an acre and a half of land in Stafford, VA. Later they moved to Culpeper, VA where they opened a 17-acre sanctuary called Mini-Pigs, Inc. During this time Richard served for several years as the Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Sanctuary Association (ASA) and as a member of The Association of Sanctuaries (TAOS). During his tenure with these two large national organizations and his interaction with the directors of several wild animal preserves the concept of creating a preserve for farmed animals originated. With the idea of creating a new model for the care of pigs, Richard and Laura left Virginia in 2005, purchased a large tract of rural land in the Mountains of Middle Tennessee and began building The Pig Preserve.
The Pig Preserve is the culmination of over 29 years of rescuing and caring for pigs of all breeds. During their journey, Richard and Laura evolved from a meat-eating lifestyle to vegetarianism and, finally, to a vegan lifestyle. They have been vegans for many years and continue to advocate for a plant-based lifestyle. Over the years Richard has spoken at numerous symposia and conferences on the rescue and care of pigs and has written many articles on these subjects. Richard and Laura have dedicated their lives to the rescue and long term care of pigs and have been among the early pioneers of the pig and farmed animal sanctuary movement.
Richard is the father of three grown daughters, a proud grandfather of five and recently became a great grandfather.
A New Model for the Lifetime Care of Rescued Pigs