Students at East Beauregard Elementary got a surprise recently when their pen pal, Staff Sergeant Canon Richard made a special visit.
"They've been writing me since I was deployed," said Richard. "The whole time I was out there. It got to the point where the kids would ask me questions, so they would send me a list of questions and I would respond. Me and my fellow Marines would actually get a kick out of it. It seemed like every time we'd have a bad day, those first graders would pop up and say, "hey Mr. Canon, you rock." And they would send me all these letters and question."
Richard was home recently visiting with family, including his daughter, Alexis. He made a special visit to her class at E.K. Key Elementary as well.
"We've traveled all over the middle east, just floating around in case of any type of emergency situation pops up, we could actually go into country and handle whatever business we needed to handle. So, we've been floating around the last 9 months. I've hit 8 countries. We've been really busy."
Richard served two tours of duty during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"It's a fun life. Very wild, entertaining. You're always on the go, always training, always deploying. We train a lot, we do a lot of physical fitness. We get to see a lot of things, get to travel the world and experience a lot of things most people will never have the opportunity to be involved in. It's something I'm very proud of."
Staff Sgt. Canon Richard is back in North Carolina and hopes to be deployed to Afghanistan.