Carrying on a legacy

4 May 2004 | Pfc. Christopher S. Denys

Many go through life hoping they will make an impact on the world before they die. However, few ever think about making an impact on the world after they die. Colonel Richard A. Christie, formerly the chief of staff of the U.S. Military Delegation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels, Belgium, will never have to worry about that.

“Christie passed away Feb. 21, 2003, from adrenal cortical cancer, but his legacy of integrity, courage, and the will to overcome will live on,” said Christie’s wife, Barbara.

Christie, the founder of the Col. Richard A. Christie Memorial College Assistance Award, has made it a mission to carry on her husband’s name.
The award is for Marines who are leaving the Marine Corps with plans to go to college. It is a $250 monthly stipend, paid directly to a Marine as long as he or she remains a full time student in good academic standing pursuing a bachelor’s degree. The stipend is only for a 40-month period, without a waiver. It is intended to offset the living expenses rather than tuition and fees but may be used as the recipient chooses.

“The stipend is for a former Marine or soon to be former Marine who has gone through some obstacle in their life,” said Christie. “It doesn’t matter what the obstacle may have been or may be, whether it is physical or emotional, we just want to help those Marines and encourage them not give up.”

The stipend is being supported by donations from friends and family of Christie who share his values of courage and integrity and believe obstacles are just opportunities to excel.

There is no minimum requirement of time spent into the service.

“All [the organization] cares about is integrity and courage, other than that, we just want to help our Marines,” said his wife. “There are so many awards and scholarships for Marine’s children and their spouses and very few for actual Marines other than the Montgomery G.I. Bill.”

Christie is also planning on raising money to redecorate the room that her husband stayed in while at the Walter Reed Medical Hospital in a Marine Corps theme.

“While my husband was in the hospital there were lots of times where he couldn’t be left alone, so someone in the family had to be there 24 hours a day,” said Christie. “And the rooms that we were in did not cater to the family’s needs, so what we are going to try and do is redecorate the room that my husband stayed in to more of a family oriented style and it’s going to have a Marine Corps theme. That way, if the family has to stay with the patient, they will feel comfortable.”

“I hope that what I am trying to do will help other Marines that have gone through hard times and somehow bring more honor to my husbands name, more then he had already brought to it,” said Christie. “His motto was ‘Do the right thing!’ and I’m trying to do just that.”

Marines who wish to apply for the award can contact Christie by e-
mailing her a letter for a request of an application at or send a letter to PO Box 78844 Charlotte N.C. 28271.

Donation to the Col. Robert Richard Christie Memorial Fund can be made at Account: 000650969232, Bank of America, 3220 Weddington Rd., Matthews, N.C. 28105-6704.

“Every penny sent in for a donation goes straight to the Marines,” said Christie. “I do not profit in any way, and there are no taxes on this award.”