SYRACUSE — Most Kosciusko County residents have seen Richard Pelletier at any community event that involves children. For the majority of his life he spent time volunteering as Santa, being an active Kiwanis member, helping with local daycares and spearheading fundraising efforts.
Pelletier passed away unexpectedly on April 8, but Kosciusko County and Pelletier’s family will have another chance to honor him with the bicentennial. Before his passing, he was nominated as one of 22 Kosciusko County residents chosen to carry the torch in the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay, which will travel through the local area on Sept. 29.
Pelletier moved to Syracuse in 1989 and was heavily involved with the community. Pelletier served in the Wawasee Kiwanis Club for nearly 20 years. During his service, he held many leadership positions including club president and Lt. Governor for the Land of Lakes Division.
One of his most passionate projects was the fundraiser he coordinated as a board member of the Syracuse-Wawasee Park Foundation. Pelletier was instrumental in helping raise the funds necessary for the construction of Harold Schrick Athletic Complex. This complex will have Pelletier’s name on the new scoreboard as a memorial to his efforts.
Pelletier was also instrumental as a board member for the Lakeland Learning Center Preschool. He provided countless hours of labor and fundraising efforts to completely remodel their playground.
Pelletier’s family remember him as the greatest grandfather who had a heart for children.
“He was just the firecracker of the family,” said Scott Pelletier, his son. “He would always rather be running around with the kids.”
To honor his memory, his family will carry the torch for him. Scott and his wife Chrisie, along with Pelletier’s grandchildren will wear matching shirts and carry the torch together. Their leg of the relay will start at the Turkey Creek Fire Station and continue to the stop light on Main Street.
To this day, his family continues to hear new stories about his acts of kindness in the community. Anyone that knew Pelletier can attest that the stories won’t stop anytime soon.