Sarah Richardson knew she was going to marry her husband the moment her son called him daddy.
The 35-year-old from Victoria had a son, 2-year-old Ayden, from a previous relationship when she started dating Alonzo Richardson, who brought yellow roses when he took her out to a movie for their first date. Alonzo told her he always knew he’d marry her someday, but the defining moment for her was when she introduced him to her son, she said.
“As soon as he saw him, my kid called him daddy,” Sarah said. “Never seen him before, and that’s the first thing he said to him.”
Alonzo later adopted Ayden after the couple wed June 11 in 2011.
Eight years later, Sarah stood with their now 12-year-old son and daughter, 6-year-old Aysia, while Alonzo was honored at the Victoria County Relay For Life on Saturday in DeLeon Plaza. The event came about a year after he died of stomach cancer in September 2018.
Abby Vargas, of Victoria, who worked with Alonzo at the Victoria County Juvenile Detention Center, gave a speech honoring her mentor to surprise his wife and their two children at the event. Vargas, who met Alonzo when she started working at the juvenile detention center 13 years ago, said her favorite memories of her supervisor are when he was tough on her.
“He pushed me to be a better person and step outside my comfort zone,” she said. “To be a better person and to be where I am today.”
Alonzo Richardson, who had five kids of his own, was a father figure and teacher to many others besides Vargas. He also mentored the juveniles he worked with at the detention center and his students at Richardson Family Karate, where the eighth-degree black belt taught karate.
Angie Adames, who said she knew she could rely on Alonzo the moment he hired her to work at the detention center, said she still carries his fatherly advice in her heart.
“Nothing is impossible to a willing mind,” Adames said, quoting Alonzo’s motto emblazoned on his relay team’s T-shirts with the Batman insignia, Alonzo’s favorite superhero.
Although Adames and Vargas met Alonzo through work, both said they considered him family. Adames remembered working to solicit Alonzo’s “contagious smile” after he went to chemotherapy by zooming him around in his wheelchair or taking him to China B for his favorite Chinese food.
Sarah said her husband of seven years also considered his co-workers at the detention center to be family. The last time they were at Citizens Medical Center for his treatment, all of his coworkers came to support him.
“The ER waiting room at Citizens was full,” she said. “They said, ‘Family can go upstairs, too,’ and I just turned around and said, ‘OK, let’s go, y’all.’”
Alonzo’s family, who filled his funeral at his church and stopped traffic on the way to his burial in El Campo, continue to honor him after his death by living by his motto and raising money at Relay For Life. Most of all, they’ll think of him whenever they see Batman.
“He was Batman all year long,” Sarah said. “He was everybody’s superhero.”