His greatest work: Houston man recognized for being foster dad 67 times

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- When it comes to being a father, 74-year-old Willie Richardson has 67 reasons why he has earned the title.

Richardson has fostered 67 kids since retiring from NASA 13 years ago.

"They call me P. Rich for Papa Rich," Richardson said.

Right now, he and his wife are foster parents to two special needs kids who have been with them for more than five years, 10-year-old Armani and 9-year-old Zach.

Armani and Zach are still in need of a forever family. If you're interested in adopting a foster child, visit the DePelchin Children's Center website.

Richardson still remembers what it's like fostering a child for the first time.

"Nobody wanted this kid and they could not see the beauty in him that I saw," he recalled.

Richardson says he may never see his first foster child again, but he says he knows the impact he made that still lives deep inside his heart.

He also admits that it hurts to let his foster kids go, but making them part of the family is worth it.

"You can't see some of the impact of that. We will never know the impact of that, but that child years from now can say 'I remember this one foster home I was in, and I remember P. Rich,'" Richardson said.

Richardson, who is a father to two biological children, says he gives love to foster kids to take away their pain.

Analisa Warren with the DePelchin Children's Center says the foster program needs more men like Richardson who are strong fathers who can help kids "rise up."

"Father's Day is bigger than cards. It's bigger than dinner out. It's the impact you have made in those kids' lives that might be thinking of you on Father's Day that you'll never know, the love that they have in their heart and the love they have for him as well," Warren explains.

Richardson says that although he had a great career, the highlight of his life has come after retirement by being able to foster kids.

"Kids keep you moving. They keep the livelihood in you. And I love it," Richardson said.
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