Rita Richardson, Founder
Rita Richardson is a longtime French language teacher and the past-president of the Alliance Française de Nashville. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Sister Cities of Nashville (SCN), focusing mainly on the Crouy-Nashville relationship.
In cooperation with SCN, Ms Richardson served as interpreter for WWII veterans who were honored in Normandy, France during ceremonies marking the 55th and 60th anniversary of D-Day. She has also served as interpreter in France for Tennessee Governors Don Sundquist and Ned McWherter, and for Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell.
Steve Schmoldt, Researcher and Archivist
Steve Schmoldt’s interest in honoring soldiers killed in World War II began in 1999 when he was a gravedigger at a cemetery in south Nashville. At that time, he began researching the life stories of fallen soldiers and working to honor their sacrifices in a variety of ways. Mr. Schmoldt has received recognition for being the foremost authority on The Boys of East High, a project he began in 2004 to remember and honor the 58 former students and one teacher from East Nashville High School who died in World War II. Displayed as a major exhibit at the Metro Nashville Archives, the project was also featured on the Nashville Public Television series Tennessee Crossroads.
Mr. Schmoldt’s extensive World War II research has brought him international attention and provided him opportunities to make friends worldwide. He initiated the February, 2008 proclamation officially twinning Nashville and Crouy-sur-Aisne under the auspices of Sister Cities International. For this work, he was made a lifetime member of Sister Cities of Nashville.
Mr. Schmoldt is an example of a civilian diplomat, helping to bridge the gap between language and culture in order to understand and respect the rest of the world community in which we live. His words to live by are “Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something."
Ready to present to your school or organization
Ms. Richardson and Mr. Schmoldt are available to give presentations about the Tennessee’s WWII connections with France and the France Remembers project. These presentations focus on specific soldiers, their life stories and the lasting impact they have made on us all. Their stories are are the impetus for the France Remembers project. Ms. Richardson and Mr. Schmoldt have spoken to organizations that include the Centennial Club of Nashville; Metro Nashville Teachers of ESL Conference; Montgomery Bell Academy (Nashville); Martin Luther King Magnet School (Nashville); Westminster Presbyterian Church (Nashville); Friends and Neighbors Garden Club (Goodlettsville, TN); and the following chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution: James Robertson Chapter; Campbell Chapter; French Lick Chapter; and the Charlotte Reeves Robertson Chapter.
If you are interested in having Ms. Richardson and Mr. Schmoldt as guest speakers at your school or organization, you can contact them here.