Employee profile: Lori Richard

Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to make things look effortless.  Lori Richard has a lifetime of experiences working hard to make things right. 

Lori has been a teller at Grand Rapids State Bank since August 2006.  Her prior work experience included four years at Arrowhead Promotion and Fulfillment in Grand Rapids where she worked a variety of jobs in their production center.  She also has customer service experience at Pizza Works, a downtown restaurant and caterer. 

“I love my job,” said Lori.  “I love the interaction with customers, and the customers who I get to know over time become friends.  I like the variety of moving between the two offices (the main bank and the Pokegama Office): you get to know everyone that way.”

Lori is a people person, and she relishes the opportunity to grow.  “My personality is one where I want to help people.  I see customers as new opportunities to help people, and I enjoy that.”

But when you talk to Lori, one of the things that strikes you is how calmly she discusses how she has coped with the many twists and turns in her own life.  You would never know, unless you listen closely, how much adversity she’s had to overcome. 

“I was born in Rhode Island,” Lori explained.  “My dad, who joined the Navy after leaving Grand Rapids, met my mom when he was stationed in Rhode Island.  He retired from the Navy in Mississippi, but then moved back to Rhode Island.  By 1993, after some troubles at home, we moved to Grand Rapids.” Lori graduated from Greenway High School in 1995.

 “My family life was not easy,” said Lori.  “My older sister was pregnant when I was still in high school,” said Lori.  “I had to help out.  I was given custody of her oldest son—my nephew—when he was a baby.  I did the only thing I could do.  My mom had died after a short bout with cancer; my dad wasn’t in the picture; and my sister couldn’t cope with this.

“I was given legal custody of Tyler when he was six, and at age 10 I formally adopted him,” Lori continued.  “I gave him the choice of calling me Auntie Lori or Mom, and it’s been ‘Mom’ from day one.”

Tyler, now age 18, is a special needs student at Grand Rapids Senior High.  Lori has a daughter, Tiajia, age 14, and the two kids behave as most any other two siblings; they have their moments.

“Our whole family has devoted a lot of time to Special Olympics,” Lori said.  “Tyler is involved in all kinds of sports: basketball, track, bocce ball, and bowling. 

“I’m really proud of Tyler, and Tiajia is stepping up, too,” continued Lori.  “She is now a coach in Special Olympics herself, and she even participated in a unified partners relay race, where special needs and able-bodied athletes compete together on the same team.  My kids have come such a long way.”

In addition to being a Special Olympics volunteer, Lori has volunteered at the Bisch Bash, an area fundraiser supporting the Itasca Area Cancer Crisis Fund.  “My mother is my inspiration for volunteering.  I want to help people in ways my mother never had the chance to do.”

Lori takes her own health seriously, working out at the Y and working with her children to maintain healthy diets and exercise.  “It’s what I know,” said Lori.  “I want to give them a good chance in life.”


From left: Tyler, Lori and Tiajia at the St. Croix River near Stillwater, MN during the 2012 Special Olympics state meet; Tiajia, Lori and Tyler have been heavily involved in Special Olympics activities.  Bottom: Tiajia, Lori and Tyler during Christmas 2012. 

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