by Patrick Shannon, New Orleans, Louisiana
Richard A. Saucier is a man with a mission and a startling resemblance to a
famous personage. Saucier looks like the controversial New York City radio
shock jock, Howard Stern, if Stern were younger and really handsome. Like Howard Stern, Saucier is a tall man standing at 6 feet 3 inches and his long dark hair falls down over his shoulders in billowing waves. His beautiful dreamy dark brown eyes gleam with zeal and determination when he talks about his plans for a new AIDS charity.
His excitement and deep involvement shows when he discusses his mission to make the recent passing of his closest friend, Blake Kyle LaPorte, serve a noble purpose and be remembered in a charity named after him, to have him remembered for the good and compassionate person he was, a person who thought of others even in his illness.
Mr. Saucier also has the high energy and moxie of Howard Stern. He keeps at it. He can't stay home like a couch potato. He knows a lot of people and his public relations abilities are commendable. He's a self-promoter and a go-getter. But most of all he has the courage and the honesty to turn a painful and negative memory, the passing of his friend Kyle Laporte, into a long lasting tribute and an expression of positive energy by vowing to organize a way to offer assistance to those among us, from every walk of life, who may be HIV+ or experiencing complications from the illness or from STDs.
Richard A. Saucier and his partner in this undertaking, William "Billy" Warr III, met when they both became involved with one of our most popular and campy fund raising events, the Charity High Heel Pool Tournaments. Both of these men have been able to raise about $22,000 overseeing the these tournaments during the last five years. The last Charity High Heel Pool Tournament raised $6000 for AIDS charities.
Because of this success, they both agreed that they should pool their skills and talents and turn their fundraising abilities into a bigger and more encompassing enterprise which could assist more organizations related to HIV and AIDS problems.
With legal assistance from a lawyer friend, they have established a non-profit umbrella entity, a parent corporation named The Metropolitan New Orleans AIDS Charities Corporation [MetNOAC]. Two more legal non-profit entities will exist under this corporate name: The Charity High Heel Pool Tournament and the Blake Kyle LaPorte Charitable Foundation for the Quality of Life of our Neighbors Afflicted with HIV/AIDS and STDs.
Mr. Saucier gave me a draft of the mission and objectives of the corporation which reads as follows: "To join the neighborhoods, communities, towns, cities and parishes of the 8 parish New Orleans Metropolitan Area into a cohesive, educated, and focused group directed at the "Quality of Life" of those from these same neighborhoods, communities, towns, cities, and parishes which are suffering with HIV/AIDS & STDs - to become a bridge of assistance between those who wish to help and those who need the assistance."
"I know what some people are going to think," he said. "Oh, no! Not another AIDS charity! But I think my friend Billy Warr and I have a whole new and different approach to the subject. We have proved we have the ability to turn sporting events such as the High Heel Pool tournament into a successful affair. And I have so many contacts and the time to devote to this dream. And I know it's what my friend Blake LaPorte wanted me to do.
I want it to be known that I am HIV positive and have been so for the last several years. I'm very fortunate in not having had any major medical problems. I'm in good health and have a lot of energy to give to this charity."
Mr. Saucier told me that anyone who would be interested in examining the corporation papers will be welcomed to do so. He also advises me that there will be no paid directors or officers of this charity. All officers and board members will be volunteer. All books will be open for perusal and strict financial accounting will be done. All records will be available in detail, unlike other major local groups.
There will be no hidden expenses and all monies raised will be used for the charity. Operating expenses will be kept to the barest minimum and volunteers and volunteer services will be a major part of the operational planning. The line is open for volunteers now! Information can be obtained by calling Mr. Saucier at 504.949.8375.