Island Residents Making a Difference

May 24, 2012

Island residents Pat and Tom Richards

Whether it’s a concert, golf tournament, festival, or a 5K race, an array of exciting events are offered throughout the year in our island town. The wonderful thing is that the majority of these events are led by island residents with the goal of benefiting local charities and non-profit organizations.

Pat and Tom Richards are the perfect example of Daniel Island residents who are dedicated to giving back. Pat currently serves as President of the Rotary Club of Daniel Island and Tom is active on the Rotary board and a co-chair of the Rotary Charity Duck Race, one of the club’s signature events. Originally from Long Island, and then Syracuse, New York, Pat and Tom moved to Daniel Island six years ago. Tom was in the Air Force and was stationed in Charleston during the late 1960s. The couple always knew that they wanted to return here. Many years later, and after seeing an ad for Daniel Island in Links magazine, the Richards knew that this was the place they wanted to spend their retirement.

“We visited Daniel Island in 2000 and immediately fell in love with the place. We looked at several different neighborhoods and eventually decided to build a home in Daniel Island Park in 2006,” says Pat.

The Richards joined the Daniel Island Club and enjoyed making new friends as they settled into their new home.

“About a year after we moved here, Pat and I were at a cocktail party and met some members of the Rotary Club of Daniel Island,” says Tom. “We’ve both always strongly believed in community service and were very impressed with the group as a whole.”

“We’ve been active in Rotary ever since,” commented Pat.

Rotary’s main objective is service — in the community, in the workplace, and around the globe. One of the many ways that the Rotary Club of Daniel Island contributes to this mission is by supporting local non-profit organizations through its major fundraiser, the Rotary Charity Duck Race. Now in its 6th year, the Duck Race has raised over $500,000 since its inception. Proceeds have been donated to named charities and non-profit organizations in the Charleston area, and have financed a wide variety of community service projects locally and around the world.

Over 20,000 rubber ducks will be “dumped” into the Wando River from I-526 at this year’s Charity Duck Race.

Logistically, the Duck Race is an enormous undertaking.

“We get help from the Department of Transportation, Coast Guard, Department of Natural Resources, Charleston Police, and even the weather service for up to date weather bulletins. All of this ensures that the race is done in the safest manner possible,” says Pat.

“We have many volunteers from all over the community. Numerous residents and business owners generously donate their time and services,” says Tom. “We just couldn’t do this without everyone’s help. It’s a huge community effort.”

The Charity Duck Race takes place on June 2nd. 25,000 rubber ducks will be dropped from the Wando River bridge and will race to the finish line at the Daniel Island community pier. It is just one of many initiatives that The Rotary Club of Daniel Island has spearheaded over the years.

“We’re always looking for new projects,” says Pat. “That’s how we came up with the idea for the Daniel Island Community Improvement Project.”

Island residents are invited to propose a project that will improve the community. The project can either be something that benefits the community at large or something that benefits the children on Daniel Island. The project is being sponsored by Rotary along with The Daniel Island News and the Daniel Island Community Fund.

The Rotary Club of Daniel Island was able to purchase an off-road emergency vehicle for the fire department on Daniel Island, using funds raised at the Charity Duck Race.

“The contest is another reminder to the community that we’re here to help. We are looking to identify some great projects that will make a difference in our community,” says Pat. “We’re very excited about this project and look forward to announcing the winners at the Duck Race!”

The Rotary Club of Daniel Island is also involved with service on an international scale.

“We’ve worked on some really wonderful projects with Rotary International. Several of our Club’s members have been to Peru working on clean water projects,” says Pat. “Our club has also contributed to one of Rotary International’s biggest missions – the eradication of polio.”

“It’s truly a special organization made up of a lot of wonderful people,” Tom adds. “These projects could not happen without the support of the Daniel Island community. This is such as special place and we could not be more appreciative of all the help that we receive.”

For more information about the Charity Duck Race, go to or go to for more information about the Daniel Island community improvement contest.