Monday, November 15, 2004
Burrow shares laughs with allies
Richard Burrow and his wife, Janet, threw a thank you party for the people who stuck by them while he faced two trials.
Former National D-Day Memorial Foundation president Richard Burrow stood among dozens of his supporters Sunday afternoon, shaking hands, introducing people and smiling - something that he didn't get to do much of over the past three years.
Burrow and his wife, Janet, rented Fitzpatrick Hall at Roanoke's Jefferson Center to throw a thank you party for the people who stuck by them while he faced two trials. Burrow was charged with fraud in connection with how he raised money for the $25 million National D-Day Memorial in Bedford. After a hung jury in 2002, there was another deadlock last month and U.S. Attorney John Brownlee announced several days later that charges against Burrow would be dismissed.
The Burrows held a news conference to answer a few questions after their ordeal ended. Then they disappeared to a "private" place for a few weeks, Richard Burrow said Sunday.
"I've spent three years living in the past," he said. "I'd like to get going again."
Burrow, who got his real estate license during his legal troubles, said he's working for MKB Realtors. He also said he plans to stay in Roanoke.
"I love Roanoke and the Roanoke region," he said.
But Burrow does not feel the same way about the U.S. Attorney's office, which chose to try Burrow again after the first hung jury with a good deal of public sentiment behind the D-Day Foundation president.
"I'm no less angry at the government," he said with a steely glare Sunday, adding that he doesn't believe his feelings will wane anytime soon.
Sunday's thank you to supporters, however, was more about hugs and laughter than any obvious bitterness.
More than 100 people attended and the crowd included city officials past and present - such as Vice Mayor Bev Fitzpatrick, Councilwoman Brenda McDaniel and City Attorney Bill Hackworth - to many retired military veterans, Burrow neighbors and other longtime friends.
Retired U.S. Army veteran Fred Lee of Salem said he didn't know Burrow before he was charged, but decided to donate to Burrow's defense fund when he was forced to face the second trial. Lee said the federal government's decision to try Burrow smacked at the very reasons the D-Day Memorial was built.
Burrow said he could not have made it through the past several years without the level of support he received. After he was charged initially, Burrow said he assumed most would stay away from him as if he had the plague. Instead, Burrow said he couldn't go anywhere that someone didn't seek him out to give him a pat on the back.
"We had some down days," he said. "But the support we received was unbelievable. It was just stunning."