Each month, we honor a special National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias (NFED) volunteer. We choose this person with input from our entire staff. But, 2020 has been a weird year!

We haven’t engaged with volunteers in quite the normal ways. There have been just a few events. We have not had any volunteers at the office because of the need to social distance and keep our volunteers and staff safe.

Despite this, we did have a clear choice for this month’s volunteer spotlight. He’s someone who helped a lot this month, this year, and in the past, too. He was able to volunteer because he’s related to me! Now this is a bit awkward for me because I know this person so, so well but he truly is deserving. It’s Tom Richardson.

A letter to my husband…

Dear Tom,

When we first met almost 40 years ago at a square dance club’s open house on a military base in The Netherlands, I thought, “What a ‘dork’!” You were wearing your cowboy boots and hat and speaking with an Alabama twang.

For you, it was love at first sight. For me, it took a little while to see the awesome person you really are. We fell in love. We married and moved from post to post while you served your country in the Army (Quartermaster Corps) for 20+ years.

Tom and I

It was not an easy life. But, what makes us survive as a couple is our choice to love each other every single day. After retirement, we settled in Mascoutah, Illinois where your second career began at Memorial Hospital, retiring in 2019 after 17 years of dedicated service.

Tom and I with our daughter, Angelique

Sometimes, I wonder if you know how important and how valued you are to me, to our daughter, to our family and friends, to the NFED and to people affected by ectodermal dysplasias.

How You’ve Helped

For almost 10 years, you have come to the NFED office on many of your days off to volunteer. You have folded and stuffed thousands of envelopes for the Halloween Bash and other communications so the mailings would deliver on time. This year alone, you helped us stuff and prep four mailings.

We have truly appreciated all of your manual labor! Back in 2012, you were a big help when we moved the NFED office from Mascoutah to Fairview Heights. At Family Conferences in St. Louis and Chicago, you helped load and unload our many boxes without ever a complaint. You manned tables and were quick to step in and help with whatever need arose.

You helped represent the NFED at the local Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) and State Campaigns rallies. Since you have been a military employee, you’ve seen that soldiers and their families really do care about their communities and want to give back through some form of charity.

Through the years, you volunteered at other events like the NFED Don’t Sweat It Walk and the Minnetonka 5K. Heck, you have even helped clean the NFED office!

The staff often jokes about how our families get to volunteer whether they want to or not. But, the truth is, you truly always want to help and do.

Thank you for being such a dedicated volunteer for the NFED.  And my very own forever hero!

Your Loving Wife,


The CFC and State Campaigns provide easy ways for federal and state employees in the United States to donate to the NFED through their payroll. They are great opportunities for educating the public and creating awareness about ectodemal dysplasias, too. If you or someone you know works for the U.S. government, consider giving through these campaigns. The NFED is listed as the Skin and Dental Dysfunction Foundation #10604 in the CFC. The campaign runs from September 21, 2020 through January 15, 2021.

If you are interested in volunteering for the NFED, let us know!


One comment on “Volunteer Spotlight – Tom Richardson”

  1. 1
    Julie Claeys on November 24, 2020

    What a giving soul you are Tom. We are grateful for your many volunteer events and hours you’ve served for so many years! What an endearing article from Lea❤️

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