Dunmorean of the Month: Thomas Richardson

Dunmorean of the Month - Photo 1By Emily Gerchman

‘Tis the season, and that means it’s a busy time for Santa and his elves at the North Pole. And with the Dunmore Police Department’s second annual toy drive well underway, it’s also a very busy time at Santa’s satellite workshop inside the Borough Building.

Thomas Richardson is a patrolman with the Dunmore Police Department. He’s held that title for 16 years, proudly serving the place he, his wife, Kristina, and their three daughters, Emily, Abigail and Madelyn, call home.

A few years ago, Richardson gained another title when he was named coordinator of the borough’s annual National Night Out.

“National Night Out is an event that is supposed to bring the communities and the police together, to not make us these unapproachable people with a badge…who are sometimes portrayed as these scary people,” said Richardson. 

Some of the monetary donations brought in from National Night Out help cover various equipment and training officers at the DPD need. The rest of those bucks go right back to Bucktown to help families in need all year round, but especially around the holidays.

It was just after last year’s event when Richardson’s wheels started spinning: How can the department go “a step above” and give even more back to the community? 

He pitched the idea of a holiday toy drive to his colleagues, and everyone was on board. A group of officers formed a committee. One officer even offered to dress as Santa Claus when they handed out the toys. The team then got in contact with the Dunmore School District.

“We ended up having teachers at the school, give out to every student… a want and need list for Christmas,” Richardson said. 

Dunmorean of the Month - Photo 2

LAST YEAR: Dunmore Police cruisers were stuffed with toys collected from the community.

“You have the kids who say they wanted an Xbox or a PlayStation. Then you have the kids who really were in need. Kids said they needed dryers. There were kids who said all they wanted for Christmas was a ham or a turkey…or a Christmas tree.”

The Dunmore Police put out a call to businesses in the borough, asking them to participate, and to simply say this effort “took off” would be selling it short. Frankly, it exploded into something bigger than Richardson, his fellow officers or even Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick could have ever imagined.

“The donations were endless,” Richardson explained, “and they were from near and far. I had business people from well outside our area calling me saying ‘What can I do?’ We’d have officers go on calls and people would say “Oh, I saw this on Facebook, I want to donate.’”

One business donated 20 bicycles, brand new and still in the boxes. Another donated hundreds of footballs, basketballs and soccer balls. You name it, and odds are someone donated it.

Lots of folks also donated money and gift cards, which Richardson and the rest of the toy drive committee put to good use.

Dunmorean of the Month - Photo 3

Thomas Richardson is shown with the family of Cayden Orr. With donations from last year’s holiday toy drive, the Dunmore Police Department purchased a wheelchair lift and had it installed at Cayden’s home.

“One kid, his father carried him to his school bus because he was wheelchair bound. So with the monetary donations we purchased a wheelchair lift [for him].”

Last Christmas, the DPD was able to help out more than 130 children. It was a gratifying and humbling project that took a lot of time and work, which did not go unnoticed by their boss, Dunmore Mayor Tim Burke.

“It’s a really good group effort led by Tom. The police force…the DPW, the firemen, all the restaurants and businesses… Everybody helped out to make things brighter for the children during Christmastime,” said Burke.

“And with Tom, there are so many hours that he puts in. I should say more than hours — days of his own time just to make Dunmore a better place, and I’m just so happy we have him.”

Richardson calls last year’s toy drive “an overwhelming success.” It was a project he was happy to play a small role in and one he hopes will have even more success this year and in the years to come.

“For a lot of those kids, I truly do believe it was the Christmas they always wanted or saw on TV, but they were able to live it. It hit home to all of us…and gave a whole new meaning to Christmas.”

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If you’re interested in participating in this year’s holiday toy drive, donations can be dropped of at the Dunmore Borough Building, Fidelity Bank’s location on North Blakely Street, Riccardo’s Market and DePietro’s Pharmacy.

Athlete of the Month: Cristian Buckley

Athlete of the Month - Cristian BuckleyBy Steve Svetovich

Dunmore junior tailback-defensive back Cristian Buckley always knew he had big shoes to fill, and he is more than seizing the opportunity.

Son of Connie Buckley, Cristian’s two older brothers, Michael Perry, 28, now working for Signa Insurance, and Daiqwon Buckley, 22, now a Dunmore police officer, were both All-State backs for Dunmore.

With one year of high school football left, Cristian has already earned All League Athlete of the Year for football the past two consecutive seasons. He was also an All League defensive back last season. 

A member of the Health Careers Club at Dunmore, he plans on running track for the first time this year. He has an impressive 3.7 academic average. His best subject is chemistry. 

Cristian, 17, scored three touchdowns, two on passes and one on a run, in Dunmore’s 42-7  District 2, Class 2A win over Mid Valley. 

He rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries in Dunmore’s 28-13 District 2, Class 2A, PIAA first round loss to Bishop McDevitt. He also intercepted a pass. 

“We really stepped in up after a slow start this season,” Cristian said. “We can attribute the success we had to the seniors stepping up and then the younger players coming through. It came through hard work and practice.”

Humble and hard working in nature, the junior stalwart said he has learned a lot from Dunmore football coach Kevin McHale. “I have learned so much from coach McHale,” he said. “He teaches us not only about football, but about life lessons too. I can’t say enough about him.”

Cristian said former Dunmore football coach Jack Henzes is still around the locker room before and after games. “It is a great feeling that he is still there.”

Cristian talked about what it takes to be the third brother to excel at running back at Dunmore. 

JVfootball“There is a lot of pressure and expectations, but that helps me become a better football player. I have to work that much harder to live up to the expectations. It makes me better.”

Cristian said his mom serves as an example to him. “I have learned a lot from my mom. She is my inspiration. She teaches me if you want something, you can’t sit back. You have to work hard and go after it.”

Cristian talked about his future goals. “I want our football team to win a state title next year. And I know we can do it. And then I want to play football in college and graduate with a degree in Math or Science. I want to get a good job after college.”

The scholar-athlete enjoys listening to music in his spare time and would like to see Lil’ Wayne in concert.

Cristian, a multiple threat, rushed for over 700 yards and totalled over 400 yards receiving while also excelling at his defensive back position this past season. 

Cristian said he loves Dunmore High School and living in Dunmore.

“I love it in this town,” he said. “I love going to school here. Everybody knows each other. The kids, coaches and teachers are great. It’s the best place to be.” 

Bucks Win District Title, But Lose to Bishop McDevit in PIAA playoffs

DHS Coach - Bucks football 3

Rich Banick Photography ©

By Steve Svetovich

Coach Kevin McHale and his Dunmore Bucks finished the season strong, winning another district title, but lost to Bishop McDevitt, 28-13, in the PIAA Class 2A first round contest Friday, November 15.

Dunmore defeated Mid Valley, 42-7, to win the District 2, Class 2A title the week before. Junior back Cristian Buckley scored three touchdowns, two receiving and one rushing, in the district title win.

Dunmore beat Susquehanna, 48-20, in the District 2, Class 2A semifinal, Friday, November 1, at Dunmore. Rayshaun Dawkins rushed for 173 yards and 6 touchdowns in the win. 

Athlete of the Month - Cristian Buckley

Cristian Buckley

Buckley rushed for 104 yards on 17 carries in the loss to Bishop McDevitt. He scored a touchdown on a 36-yard run. 

Dawkins rushed for 85 yards on 14 carries in the loss to Bishop McDevitt. He scored a touchdown on a 10-yard run. 

The Bucks rallied from a two touchdown deficit in the first half, but fell short against Bishop McDevitt in the state playoff contest.

“We never wavered or drifted,” said coach McHale. “That’s been the story of our season.”

Dunmore, after an 0-2 start this season, had a late season surge en route to the district title.

Dunmore’s Dylan Aquino recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff of the state playoff contest, but the Bucks could not capitalize. 

The Bucks fumbled at the Royal Lancers 45 and then Corey Wright-Downing snared a 44-yard touchdown pass from University of Buffalo recruit Lonnie Rice with 6:47 left in the first quarter. The extra point kick was blocked.

Another Dunmore fumble led to Rice’s 22-yard touchdown strike to Ty Tindal. Dunmore’s David Reilly blocked the extra point kick attempt again and the Bucks were down, 12-0, with 8:39 left in the half.

Following five Dunmore runs, Buckley bolted through the right side and scored on a 36-yard run with 5:19 left in the half. Peyton Badyrka’s extra point kick attempt was wide and the Bucks were down, 12-6.

Buckley intercepted a Rice pass attempt giving the Bucks good field position on its 46. A few plays later, Badyrka attempted a 39-yard field goal that missed wide left after hitting the upright. 

bucksDunmore chopped over seven minutes off the clock with a strong running game in the third quarter. Dawkins capped the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-two. Badyrka booted the extra point kick and the Bucks had a 13-12 lead with 4:54 left in the third quarter. 

Rice then directed a five-play, 67-yard drive after Dunmore almost recovered a botched kickoff. Rice’s six-yard touchdown burst was followed by Akire Lillie’s two-point conversion run with 3:02 left in the third quarter to give McDevitt a 20-13 lead.

The Bucks had a chance when Dom Temperino picked off a Rice screen pass and galloped 36 yards to the McDevitt 18. 

Dawkins ran the pigskin to the 12 and a face mask penalty put the Bucks at the three. But two false starts and a huge defensive play throwing by Division I recruit Tyrone Fowler throwing Buckley for a three yard loss hurt the drive. A fourth down incomplete pass completely stifled the drive. 

Rice took over and led the Lancers to a game clinching 87-yard drive. He scored on a 25-yard run with 5:04 left in the game. The Lancers quarterback then ran into the end zone for two more points and a 28-13 Bishop McDevitt lead.

Rice finished with 155 yards rushing and two touchdown runs in the contest. He also passed for 127 yards and two scores. 

“The effort was there and we never backed down,” coach McHale said.

He pointed to the team’s 0-2 start, but persevering to win the league and district titles. 

“That’s a super accomplishment.”