by Doris Knowlton
Richard was born in Sanger 88 years ago and the “Awards and Honors” Wall shown in the above photograph represent a lifetime of service to his hometown. Mr. Manfredi was chosen as Sanger Chamber of Commerce’s “Man of the Year” in 1965 and inducted into Sanger’s Hall of Fame in March of 2011 at the Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony dinner.
His dedication and service record give you an idea of Richard Manfredi’s ongoing love and commitment to his community. He served fifty years in the Kiwanis, as a past President and 30-years as the Secretary. He was past Commander of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and headed the Hunter Safety Program for 21 years. He is currently Quartermaster of the VFW. Mr. Manfredi is a charter member of the Sanger Historical Society where he served as their treasurer for 37-years and is still a member of the Board of Directors and a substitute Museum Docent. He was treasurer of the Italian Catholic Federation for 25 years.
Chatting with Mr. Manfredi in front of his Wall of Honor, I asked him which of the dozens of awards and honors displayed was the one that means the most to him. He answered quickly, “The certificate signed by John F. Kennedy.” The large framed certificate above Mr. Manfredi was given to him when he was appointed Sanger’s Postmaster. He worked at the Sanger Post Office from 1952 until 1977, and he served as Postmaster there from 1961 until 1977. Mr. Manfredi is equally proud of all of his accomplishments, especially the 37 years that he worked with the Kiwanis’ Basketball Program. He organized tournaments between eight high schools from Fresno to Bakersfield.
Richard said that he used to know everyone in town. Although Sanger has grown and has a lot of new faces, the new folks honor Mr. Manfredi. He is a local icon and he greets old friends and strangers with the same welcoming smile. He still remembers everyone he grew up with or worked with and it is a special treat for him each and every time he runs into one of his old friends and has a chance to visit.
Proud is not a word that describes Richard until it comes to his two sons and his grandchildren, and he is happy to report that he is expecting his first great-grandchild soon.
Still active, he plays cards five times a week. He is a great Pinochle player, but you would expect that, because everything Richard does, he does well.