What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
-Micah 6:8 RSV
That was how volunteer, Dick Barrett lived.
Dick died of a heart attack on Christmas Eve. His passing leaves an enormous void in his family, community and in the many organizations he so aptly served. Survivor Resources is no exception. Dick was a volunteer at Survivor Resources. He worked on the task force charged with developing Survivor Resources and served as a board member and treasurer since our beginning.
A survivor himself, Dick knew the value of being able to view the body of a loved one and getting your questions answered. He stood firmly as he quietly challenged an officer or investigator who didn’t think viewing the body would be good for a family. Dick recognized grief’s uniqueness and was always respectful and supportive of someone’s need to do something a different way. He was a champion of choices, believing victims should be afforded choices to begin to restore some semblance of power and control after so much was taken away. He wanted victims to be educated and to know what tools were available to address their needs for healing. He wanted them to restore peace in their lives because he knew it was possible.
Because Dick was able to find peace after his son’s murder, he was well suited for the duties of a police chaplain. As a chaplain, he led the way to train others in proper death notification procedures. He may have been the chaplain who delivered the news of your loved one’s death, the quiet, gentle presence with you in those awful first hours after you became the victim of a sudden violent death. He may have presided over the services for your loved one. Dick often assisted families who didn’t have a strong connection with a clergy person or for those who felt a strong connection to Dick because he understood. More importantly, he stood for “doing what is right” especially where victims are concerned.
Dick had the courage and foresight to explore new avenues for healing. He was an early advocate for Restorative Justice recognizing the benefits of swift intervention after a first offense. He saw the value of bringing the human element into play and the importance of accountability for both offenders and victims. He expended selfless effort to make this a kinder, gentler world.
I knew Dick for slightly more than nine years. I saw him change and grow as he continued his own grief journey and volunteer work to help others. He challenged us all to be better people. He made a profound impact on many lives; mine was no exception. One of the last times I saw Dick was at the funeral of a victim for whom he had done the death notification. In his kind, humble way, he was there to lend his strength and support to another family touched by violence.
Survivor Resources has established a Dick Barrett Memorial Fund. If you wish to make a contribution in his memory, you may send it to Survivor Resources, marked, “Dick Barrett Memorial.”
Dick Barrett Memorial Fund
Mike & Peggy Toronto
Jim & Joan Lym
Eugene & Betty Ofstead
Mary Louise Klas
Ralph H. Dwan, Jr.
Mary M. Dwan
John P. Gahey, JR.
Phyllis J. McGahey
Todd N. Sheldon
Mary K. McGahey
John P. McGahey
Stephanie &John Monogue Jr.
Nev & Betty Crowther
Bruce, Holly, Jason & Molly Brodt