By Kassondra Burtis
The 12th annual Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance (TRBD) will honor Josh Misiewicz, a former Saint Mary’s University student and military veteran who was wounded while serving his country this past summer.
Misiewicz was injured on July 20 in Afghanistan when he stepped on a bomb and lost both of his legs and some of his hearing.
“Josh is a trooper,” said Nikki Richmond, whose son Taylor was the first beneficiary of the dance. “He is already on the climbing wall, and it just happened in July. He has a heart of gold and [his injury] is not going to stop him.
“He can push himself, he’s got courage, he’s got stamina. He has his hard times too, but it’s neat to see that he’s taking what happened to him to the next level and saying, ‘I can still do what I want to do.’”
The annual event honors someone in the SMU community who is in need. The recipient must first go through a nomination process and then be selected by the TRBD committee.
SMU men’s hockey coach Bill Moore originally sent the request through the alumni relations office for Misiewicz to be this year’s recipient. Richmond heard of this and then contacted a couple of Misiewicz’s former hockey coaches growing up. They then officially nominated Misiewicz, and his nomination was accepted by the TRBD committee.
The original idea behind the TRBD came from SMU students who wanted to hold a benefit for Taylor and brought the idea to Nikki. Taylor had been diagnosed with ataxia telangiectasia, and the students wanted to send him on a trip. After the first benefit, the students decided they wanted to make the benefit an annual event and keep it in Taylor’s name.
“It’s very humbling, and I don’t know how to thank people for that, because it was the students who did it, and it was [they] who wanted to keep it in his name,” Richmond said.
“And Taylor loves it. Our family loves it, and it’s very humbling that it’s in his name.”
The 2012 Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance is scheduled for Sat., March 24, with a performance by the Johnny Holm Band.