Honesdale, PA – LCDR Kyle Richter, with the United States Coast Guard, had all eyes in the sky as he flew over the Honesdale Memorial Day parade!  Mr. Richter did us the honor of providing us some insight into himself and his military career.

Mr. Richter is a Honesdale native and serves as the Assistant Engineering Officer at Air Station Clearwater.  When not tasked with an operational mission, Mr. Richter manages 300 maintenance technicians in all aspects of sustaining the airworthiness of the unit’s four, C130’s and eight, H60 aircrafts. This role has afforded him the opportunity to fly different types of Coast Guard aircrafts.

Mr. Richter recalls that there is a “call-to-service that intrinsically exists” in Honesdale.  Along with the influence of prior military service from family and mentors, he grew an interest in joining the military himself.

Mr. Richter’s decision to join the US Coast Guard was partially influenced by his Honesdale High School Cross County Coach, “the legendary Joe Macey, a Coast Guard veteran himself, told me about the great diversity of missions and lifestyle of the Coast Guard that I became interested in that service exclusively.”  Mr. Richter attended the Coast Guard Academy, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, and received orders to Naval Flight Training in Pensacola, FL.

Mr. Richter has been stationed in Alaska and Maine while in the Coast Guard Academy, has lived in Boston learning how to protect our critical ports of entry, sailed to Spain, Portugal, and Bermuda on the Coast Guard Barque EAGLE, stationed in Pensacola, Savannah, Atlantic City, and Clearwater.  He’s had the amazing opportunity to fly both H65 helicopters and C130 heavy-lift aircrafts, conducting search and rescue missions, intercepting aircraft that fly into unauthorized or restricted airspace, aided in stopping the flow of illegal drugs and human trafficking, along with instructing flight students and copilots to fly their helicopters and airplanes safely while doing all the above.

As a prior rescue helicopter pilot, Mr. Richter has encountered many moments and memories that left lasting impressions.  A significant memory that made a great impact on Mr. Richter’s life was while he was stagging out of the Bahamas.  His helicopter crew of four was awoke in the middle of the night to a report of a capsized Haitian sail freighter with an estimated 300 people on board, fifty miles from the closest Bahamian island.  Along with Mr. Richter’s team, four other Coast Guard helicopters responded to the mass casualty event.  There were too many people to hoist into the aircraft, so each helicopter loaded up with as many life rafts as possible and flew to the capsized vessel. Over a span of twelve hours, they dropped as many life rafts as they could over a spread of 2 square miles and hoisted those who couldn’t make it to the life rafts.  “It was a tragic event, but many lives were saved”, said Mr. Richter.

A defining moment that shaped Mr. Richter’s future career happened when he was a young boy, around eleven or twelve years old, at Cherry Ridge Airport in Honesdale.  The pilots of the Experimental Aircraft Association gave free airplane rides to children to expose them to the world of aviation, called Young Eagles.  “Flying in that airplane changed my life”, said Mr. Richter.  Jay Branning, a Navy Veteran and Honesdale native, took Mr. Richter up in his aircraft and they cruised around Lake Wallenpaupack and then back to Honesdale.  “I think I remember being at a loss for words at the time, so I doubt I thanked him properly.  “But twenty years later when I overflew the Honesdale Memorial Day parade in my helicopter and landed by CVS, Jay Branning came over to say hi.  I shook his hand and told him that his airplane and that Young Eagles event were the reason this Coast Guard helicopter was parked just off Main Street that day.  I was sure to thank him properly this time”, stated Mr. Richter.

Mr. Richter’s advice to anyone who is interested in joining the military is always “work hard and have a positive attitude.  Success will follow.  I know that most students can feel overwhelmed at the prospect of leaving home to go to a military boot camp and get yelled at by strangers and then sent to a ship or shore unit in an unpredictable location. But just know that the Coast Guard truly does have a family culture, you will be taken care of, and many Honesdale kids have made that leap and are loving life.”

Mr. Richter also shared a bit of history with us to better explain where his sense of “call-to-service” within the community comes from. He proved to be quite the history buff and knew “all things Honesdale”!  He stated legendary Generals Jadwin and Tallman, Honesdale natives and recognizable local names both served in the military along with the famous, General Lyman Lemnitzer, World War II war hero and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was also a proud Honesdale native. “Also notable, Russell Ridd, former President and Chairman of the Board of Wayne Bank and someone I looked up to my whole life, was an Army Officer who served in the Korean War. Additionally, at least 15% of my great Honesdale High School class of 2005 classmates served in the military after graduation, an impressive fact when only 6% of the entire U.S. population has ever served in the military. The Wayne County Walk of Honor next to the courthouse is also an amazing project centered around our community’s military service that seeks to list every deceased Wayne County veteran buried in a Wayne County or national cemetery, and it’s my understanding that there are over 6,000 names so far.”, said Mr. Richter.

When asked what his proudest accomplishment in his career has been, he replied, “I’m proud to have been designated as an Instructor Pilot in both the helicopters and fixed wing aircrafts, the only pilot in the Coast Guard to have that distinction.  Teaching others and watching them master new skills and grow professionally is an addictive thing to witness. I now think I know what my favorite teachers must have felt like watching my friends and I turn out alright. Shout out Starmaster Mr. Gibney, Ms. Weigand, Mr. Gaylets, Coach Macey, Mrs. Snyder, Mrs. Herzog, Mr. Ruvolo, Mrs. Rowe, Mrs. Kinsman, and the best Vice-Principal disciplinarian we could’ve asked for: Mr. Frigoletto.” Said Mr. Richter.

LCDR Richter’s future plans involve soon leaving for his next assignment in Australia, which will be aiding the Royal Australian Air Force to mutually improve our C27 aircraft maintenance programs.

He and his family are very excited about the move but are aware of the challenges ahead.  Mr. Richter states, “I met my gorgeous wife Katie when I was in Savannah, GA, so she has done two moves with me. We had our oldest, Luke, while living outside of Philadelphia and commuting to Air Station Atlantic City, and we had our other two children, William and Wyatt, while in Clearwater. Katie has been a practicing Physicians Assistant in emergency room and urgent care facilities at each location while juggling all the joys of the kids and multiple dogs; and she makes it look easy by the way.”  Each assignment lasts about four years and Mr. Richter acknowledges that it can be hard to leave the relationships and community they build after that time, but “change is part of the business, so we do our best to keep the positive attitude during our transition.”  He added that he and his family are so grateful for all the support they get from their families, friends, and neighbors.

Although Mr. Richter will always call Honesdale “home”, when asked what he misses most about Honesdale when he leaves, he replies, “I miss how life in Honesdale passes with the seasons. I’ve spent eleven of the last fourteen years in the southeast where there are mostly just two seasons, hot and hotter. What I would give to smell the blossoms of spring, a summer’s freshly cut hay field, a pile of leaves in the fall, and the crispness of a snowfall.”

Speaking of seasons, Mr. Richter shared his favorite times of year in Honesdale.  He stated it is a tossup between spring and fall.  “Both have become times of year when I make it a point to come back to Honesdale for annual activities dear to my heart. For nearly the past decade, my friends Steve Daniels and Dylan Henry meet up to plant trees native to northeastern Pennsylvania around town and other areas while also removing invasive non-native trees and other plants to improve wildlife habitat and conserve our natural resources.”  He recently teamed up with the Honesdale Bourough and Wayne County Library to remove the invasive Bradford Pear trees in Triable Park and in front of the library, replacing them with native Maple Trees.  Honesdale is the Maple City after all!  Bradford Pears are extremely harmful to the ecosystem and were recently added to the PA Noxious Plants list, making it illegal to buy or sell them anymore.  However, they do currently line Main and Church Streets because their dangers weren’t well known years ago.  He requests, “If you are the owner of a Bradford Pear, please consider replacing it with a tree native to PA. Make the Maple City Maple Again (or at least native again)!”

The local life doesn’t go unnoticed by him either.  Mr. Richter loves visiting his favorite local restaurants and attractions while in town, and we asked him what his top three favorite places to eat, and visit were.

Native Restaurant is by far his favorite place to eat.  “Caleb and Alex Johnson’s commitment to making an ever-changing menu, focused on seasonal ingredients from local farms is reason enough to check it out, but you’ll also have the most delicious meals you’ve ever tasted. Their venison ossobuco with creamy polenta: the best”.  He continues to add, “There are so many other great restaurants in the area, it’s impressive. Philadelphia and New York City media often write about the bustling restaurant culture in and around Honesdale, so only picking three favorites is difficult. But, I love Ba & Me, an amazing Vietnamese restaurant, that I make a point to go to whenever I’m home. The owner Nhi Mundy is dedicated to the community and the area. She even founded the art and culture magazine DVEIGHT showcasing the people of the upper Delaware Valley. The other place I always visit when I’m home is Here & Now Brewery. A restaurant and brewery ran by Alaina Propst and some other amazing Honesdale people dedicated to the community, great beer, and high-quality food also focused on local ingredients. All three of these places help sustain Honesdale’s unique Main Street culture and vibe, and I’m thankful to them for that.”

Some favorite places to visit in Honesdale include Irving Cliff, as it is a “great scenic spot to take in the town views and reflect on history, family, and life”. Floating down the Delaware, hiking and playing disc golf at Prompton State Park, driving to the Hawk’s Nest outside of Port Jervis, hiking Jensen’s Ledges, visiting Rickett’s Glen, and spending time at a family hunting cabin are top on his list.  Mr. Richter shared a fun fact about Wayne County that many might not know, but “Wayne County is home to the tallest waterfall in Pennsylvania with a total cascading drop of 155ft., 10 feet taller than the second highest waterfall, Silverthread Falls.  “I won’t name it, because it’s located on private property, but it’s on the way to Narrowsburg.  I just might let the secret slip if someone asks me about it individually though”.

Mr. Richter has six more years of military service to complete before he is eligible to retire.  After, Mr. Richter hopes to get heavily involved in Honesdale business management while being an airline pilot part time.  He will soon finish obtaining his master’s degree in business administration, where he hopes to one day put that to use in helping the Honesdale community thrive.  “Wherever we go, Honesdale will always be a big part of our lives,” Mr. Richter stated.

He concluded that “Memorial Day is an important time for the people of our community and country to remember those who gave their lives while serving and to reflect on that sacrifice, hopefully inspiring us all to live better in their honor”.  We couldn’t agree more.

Wayne Bank expresses the upmost gratitude to LCDR Kyle Richter for taking the time to enlighten us with his journeys and allowing us to share them.  We extend a sincere thank you to him and his entire family for their service to this country.  To those who courageously gave their lives and those who bravely fight today, thank you.

Wayne Bank is a subsidiary of Norwood Financial Corp., Member FDIC, and is located in Honesdale, Pennsylvania.  The Bank has 29 Community Offices serving Wayne, Pike, Monroe, Lackawanna, and Luzerne Counties in Pennsylvania, along with Delaware, Sullivan, Otsego, Ontario, and Yates Counties in New York State, including those offices operating under the Bank of Cooperstown and Bank of the Finger Lakes brands.  The stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol— NWFL

Photo Caption:

Photo 1:

LEFT TO RIGHT: Captain Scott Phy, Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater; Kyle Richter’s son, Luke; Kyle Richter; and Master Chief Sean Beaty, Command Master Chief, Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater.

 Kyle Receiving the Coast Guard Commendation Medal (for superior performance as the Assistant Engineering Officer sustaining the airworthiness of 12 aircraft in the execution of 35,000 flight hours) and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal (for directing a crew of 10 as a C130 Aircraft Commander in the execution of law enforcement operations in the Caribbean during 92 flight hours resulting in 9 lives saved, 21 suspected smuggling vessels and 334 human trafficking survivors interdicted, and the prevention of one piracy hijacking of a U.S. flagged commercial fishing vessel).


Photo 2:

LEFT TO RIGHT: Kyle Richter with Jay Branning, Honesdale Native and Navy Veteran