Bullard said in those dark days, villagers would be greeted with a heart-warming smile and kind words.
“It has been Sandy's love for people, her incredible desire to provide the best possible for our residents that has paved this road in her journey and the incredible success of the village,” he added.
Richardson was presented with a plaque and a rocking chair by village officials, although village attorney Mike Reed of Centralia made light of that fact.
“Apparently you don't know Sandy like I know her,” he said, offering his own gift of gambling chips — an obvious reference to her passion for visiting riverboats.
“I really liked dealing with the people,” Richardson said. “There were a variety of them over the years, including different nationalities, elderly and young, and everything in between. Everyone has a different view about everything. When you talk to people, you find out what they want. If it's not exactly what you can give them, the majority of them learn to compromise.”
She added, “We've done a lot of things over the years.”
During Richardson's tenure, she served under six village presidents and numerous board members.
“I felt like it's where I belonged,” Richardson said.
Richardson said she is going to enjoy retirement, visiting the riverboats, reading, and enjoying her eight grandchildren.