Richard Loudon: a Peterborough resident and veteran with an outstanding impact

  • Richard Loudon stands with his wife, Karen, after receiving the Cheney-Armstrong Post No. 5 cane during Peterborough’s Memorial Day celebration. Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/14/2021 3:39:08 PM

On Memorial Day, Peterborough resident Richard Loudon received the American Legion’s Cheney-Armstrong Post No. 5 cane. It’s an annual award bestowed on a local American Legion veteran who has demonstrated dedication and service to the post and to all veterans, and contributed to the community, Commander Wayne Thomas said.

Loudon more than fits the bill, as a dedicated public servant and a Vietnam veteran. “I was totally blown away,” Loudon said of the recognition. “There are so many extremely deserving people in the Monadnock region. So many people love this town and participate in a lot of things,” he said. Loudon and his wife, Karen, moved to Peterborough 13 years ago after raising their two kids near Albany. They searched for “a beautiful place” to spend their upcoming retirement. Karen discovered Peterborough, Loudon said, and they moved to town without knowing a single person in the state. “We love Peterborough,” he said, but soon, he and Karen plan to move closer to their grandchildren in Tennessee.

Loudon served as the Cheney-Armstrong post’s finance officer for more than 12 years, almost as long as he’s lived in town. “I figured I’d do it temporarily,” Loudon said, when a neighbor, the post’s former finance officer, talked him into joining the Legion shortly before moving away and suggesting he take it up. “Without him we could not have moved forward as a successful Post,” Thomas said of Loudon. “He may have served in the background but without his dedication and advice this Post would not have achieved its financial stability ,” he said, calling Loudon the organization’s “right hand man and our spending conscience.”

Loudon was commissioned as an officer in the US Air Force soon after graduating college with a Bachelor’s in Chemistry in 1971. “My draft number was two,” he said, so he enlisted and trained as a navigator. Loudon served five years active duty and three years on reserve duty, flying hundreds of missions into Vietnam and Japan from the Phillipines to move medicine, cargo, and troops, and transported dead and wounded soldiers out of the country, Thomas said, before serving as a full-time flight scheduler while completing his MBA.

“I flew all over the world,” Loudon said, describing his experience as “fortunate.” For a while, it was a toss-up whether he’d visit 50 countries before he visited all 50 states, he said, but he managed to see 50 countries first. Did he ever get to all 50 states? “Funny thing about that,” Loudon said. North and South Dakota were the two longtime holdouts on his list, he said, and sat unvisited at the top of a bucket list he’d drawn up with his wife. Then, his kids surprised him with a weeklong family trip to the Dakotas for his 70th birthday, where they saw Mount Rushmore in person and all the beautiful scenery between the two states he said. “I’ve been in all 50 now,” he said.

In Peterborough, Loudon served as a deacon and moderator as a member of the Union Congregational Church, and represented the church as Chair of the Interfaith Council. He volunteered weekly to distribute food at the Peterborough Food Pantry, donated blood for the Red Cross regularly, visited Pheasant Wood residents and met the veterans there for coffee on a monthly basis, Thomas said. He also drove for the Community Volunteer Transportation Company for 11 years, completing more than 450 trips for local residents in need.

“I guess it was ingrained in me,” Loudon said of his instinct to serve the community upon his retirement. His parents had always been big into volunteering, driving for Meals on Wheels in their upstate New York community, he said. “The more you give, the more you get,” he said, adding that he feels he’s received more from the community than he’s contributed.

Loudon said he looks forward to taking on new adventures and challenges in Tennessee. “We definitely will miss the area, and our neighborhood, and our town,” he said. He and his wife attended Peterborough Players events, and she was actively involved in the Monadnock Chorus, he said.

“There are so many things in this area that we will miss a great deal,” he said, but he believes the community itself will be the hardest to part with. “When I first retired, I joined the Monadnock Indoor Tennis Club,” he said, playing three or four times a week. “Then I gave up on that, and everybody said, “Don’t you miss the tennis?” and I said, I don’t really miss the tennis, but I miss the people. It’s definitely going to be the people,” he said, “the richest resource that I think New Hampshire has to offer.”

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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