by Patrick Hussey, Community Journalist
HARDWICK – In a salute to a pair of Hardwick’s finest souls, the Hardwick Academy (HA)/Hazen Union (HU) Alumni Association has announced it will present two $500 service awards to a pair of seniors at Hazen Union’s 2023 graduation ceremonies in honor of both Richard D. LeCours and Richard M. Brochu.
These two standout personalities were lifelong friends, both members of the Hardwick Academy Class of 1968 who grew up across the street from one another on West Church Street in Hardwick. LeCours was the 1968 Class President, Brochu the Class Vice President. Both spent the better part of their lives in Hardwick.
LeCours was born on Nov. 22, 1950, and passed on June 23, 2020. Upon graduating from HA, LeCours attended the University of Vermont and graduated in 1972. He then enlisted in the Army and was stationed in Germany.
After his honorable discharge, LeCours attended Western New England’s School of Law and passed the bar in 1978. He started his career as a public defender and eventually practiced general law and served in the Hardwick area for over 30 years.
Brochu was born in Greensboro on May 2, 1950, and eventually his family settled in Hardwick across the street from the LeCours’ house. He passed on June 1 of 2022, just one day shy of his 49th wedding anniversary to his wife Marsha Kallahan Brochu.
He grew up working in the family’s service station, Mike’s Gulf. Upon graduation from HA, Brochu got his BA degree from Johnson State College and shortly thereafter, in 1973, married his longtime sweetheart.
Brochu purchased his business on Mill Street in Hardwick, Brochu’s Citgo, where he would spend the next four decades of his life servicing vehicles for old and new customers alike. A diehard Red Sox fan, Brochu joked that he would even work on the cars of Yankee fans.
LeCours and Brochu both, at various times, were involved with the alumni association. Both were very service-oriented and helped the town of Hardwick on many boards and organizations. Their dedication to Hardwick was exemplary.
The storytelling abilities of each was legendary and they both have been described as “the brightest lights in the room” with their intellect and wit. Both Lecours and Brochu were noted for their enviable memories. The two kindred spirits were so much alike in many ways, both of them loyal, devoted, kind, humble, funny, engaging, committed and generous.
Music was also a big part of each of their lives. LeCours, especially, grew up in a family where singing together was a major part of their lives. Both had wonderful singing voices. LeCours also played guitar and they each spent their entire lives singing with family, friends, at weddings, in church ceremonies and enlightening new generations of children with their volumes of songs.
“Richard and Richard were two of the most well-liked personalities in our community,” said Mike Clark, HA/HU Alumni secretary. “Both of them were just such great guys. They never had an ill word to say about anybody, they both devoted their lives to their families. And the fact that both of them served this community, so loyally, for their entire adult lives, is just astounding.”
“They were both from the Hardwick Academy Class of 1968, so that makes it just that much more special,” continued Clark. “They were just complete gentlemen, so fondly remembered by all of us who knew them. They would just give, give and give and never ask for anything in return.”
“Richard Brochu would respond to your 1 a.m. call to come pull you and your car out of a snowbank,” added Dr. Brenda Eastman, HA/HU Alumni President. “And cheerfully, even though you shouldn’t have been there in the first place. A lovely man”
“Richard LeCours was a busy attorney who took it upon himself to drive to the homes of his elderly clients to spare them climbing the steps to his office,” she continued. “He would drop everything, to bring comfort to a fellow townsperson. His magnificent voice and guitar helping the community through a sad day.”
“Their vibrant voices, full of kindness and hearty greetings, with patience and time for the frailest person, will echo in our hearts for a long time.”
The Hazen Union faculty has presented the alumni association with their nominations for the two awards. The winners will be announced soon and will be presented their alumni gifts in memory of LeCours and Brochu at their graduation ceremony on June 10.