Richard Hatch- The Colonial Father to Us All
After pondering all night what to say and how to say it, I will just speak from the heart about my experience meeting him for the first time, up until his time of death, which was yesterday.
First off, I didn't know how to react yesterday after I was told of his death. I did not believe it at first because there are so many internet hoaxes out there that people who have nothing else better to do, do it to cause chaos. I also just arrived back into the country after 6-7 months on a tour of duty overseas. This is not what I had envisioned as part of my homecoming.
Second, I refuse to believe it to be true because he was and always will be, a person full of energy and always ready to interact with family, friends and most importantly, his fans (the Battlestar Galactica Universe).
Richard and I finally met one on one during Comicpalooza of 2012 (can you believe that). I was there with Battlestar Galactica Fan Club President Shawn O'Donnell (I was the Deputy Vice President of the BFC at that time), who was a great friend of Richard Hatch. We were there promoting Galacticon 3, which was being held the following year on a joint hosting venture with Comicpalooza. I have been telling Shawn O'Donnell, how much I hated his character Tom Zarek on the Re-Imagined series because he was so evil and conniving. His response to me was: " That means he is such a great actor in his character performance if he gets a reaction from you along with many others! But you know, Richard as a person in real life, is nothing like his character. And you will see it. I will introduce you to him!" And Shawn O'Donnell did just that. That morning of Comicpalooza 2012, as we were setting up the BFC table, Shawn always disappears on me because he was either smoking, getting coffee, charging his phone (it’s the most prehistoric phone I have ever seen at the time. Richard had a smartphone and he knows how to use one too), or he is at Richard's table chatting with him. They are both chatter boxes. So, when Shawn finally decides to come back to the table, he asks me if Richard has been at the table yet because he said he sent him there to come and meet me. I said I have not seen him yet. I told Shawn I was going to the food court to go get something to eat and drink. As I was coming back and standing at the table, Richard showed up. Apparently, he went to go get coffee. Needless to say, I was very nervous and excited at the same time meeting Richard finally for the first time. Nervous because I did not know what to expect from someone like him. As we started talking and talking (he can talk his brains off), I realize what a sweet, gentle, kind and down to earth person he was. Shawn was right, he was nothing like his character Tom Zarek. And from there, we kept in touch with each other either via email or texting over the phone. And the rest was history as they say.
Along came Galacticon 3 and then two years after that, came Galacticon 4 which was held in Seattle, Washington. After months of hard work and preparation on the side helping out set up the event (there were specific facts not told to me, along with the rest of the staff on the side by the con), I was just the happy Mama with three boys coming with me to Seattle, to enjoy the event. I spend a lot of money for myself and my three children to come there. Little did I know what was happening behind the scenes as I boarded the plane, to make my way up there. I was peacefully enjoying my plane ride with my children and was very much looking forward to seeing Richard and many of the other BSG cast members coming there including friends. The moment I landed in Seattle, Washington and turned my phone on, my phone blew up with text messages and Facebook private messages. I read every single one of them and was not making sense to me at all. The last message that I saw was- "Battlestar Raven and the BFC was named to run Galacticon 4 as the con promoter stepped down." You can imagine my jaw dropping to the ground because I was so stunned that it will take a forklift to lift it up off the floor. I was also informed that several BSG guest were given the pink slip which included Richard Hatch. I could not believe my eyes and ears being greeted to that kind of message. As I arrived at the hotel (Westin Hotel -never again will I stay there-expensive with rude customer service) and went to the convention site to meet with everyone who had worked so hard behind the scene, the former convention promoter was there. If my people from the Raven and some other security details along with Shawn O'Donnell, were not there to stop me, things would have gone down the wrong path between me and that man. As I was told of the whole detail, my first order of business, was to see if I can bring some BSG cast members back. The first person I thought off was Richard Hatch. To me and in my humble opinion, he is THE MOST IMPORTANT cast member of Battlestar Galactica. Without his efforts to keep BSG alive, it would not have been made possible at all, for the Re-Imagined series to come along. He was also, THE ONLY cast member, to appear at both the Original Series and Re-Imagined Series which made him truly, the bridge to both shows, the COLONIAL FATHER TO US ALL.
As I was sitting eating lunch with my children, I was pondering how do I go about approaching Richard Hatch to talk to him and convince him to come back. Like I always do, I just spoke to him from within. I took up courage and text him and say to him what I wanted to say about everything that had transpired and if he would come back. After I send the message, at this point, I didn't know what was going to happen next. I did not even know whether he was going to respond. And when he did respond and saw his messages to me, all I can do was smile and let out a sigh of relief. His messages contain nothing short of the ordinary. He said he would come back because he did not want to disappoint "the fans". And that is me, you, the whole entire BSG Universe. He was always thinking of the fans. He also provided me some moral support and direction to help me get through along with my Battlestar Raven Group and all those others that chose to stay and make the experience at Galacticon 4, more bearable and fun for all those that still chose to come. I don't know anything about running a convention but we all manage to pull through. Personally for me, I could not have done it without Richard Hatch's undying support and encouragement which he was posting on his Facebook page. He kept me going which in turn, made my people and everyone else, kept going too. After the event was done and over with and everyone parted ways, Richard and I spoke one on one via Facetime a couple weeks later after Galacticon 4 when I was on my tour of duty in Misawa, Japan. We kept getting disconnected because the Wi-Fi signal on the base I was at, was pretty weak. We chatted for about an hour and half (HOLY FRAKKING COW LOL). Richard can surely talk one’s ears off. He was talking to me about what he thought of how the overall Galacticon 4 turned out to be despite all its flaws and mishaps. He was so pleased and proud of how myself, my Battlestar Raven Group and the many other volunteers, turned the convention around, the best we can. He also asked me a question I never thought of him asking me. His exact words were - " Maybe you and your group can organize and run the 40th Anniversary of BSG." I said to Richard- " Richard, as much as flattering and what an honor to do that, we are nothing more than a group of people /fans, from all around the world. We are not professionals that can run a convention. It takes a lot of planning, capital and the right place to do it. But whomever does end up organizing the event and hosting it, we will be glad and honored to help out!" Richard understood where I was coming from. But it was Richard's last words to me that day before we ended our conversation, that really stood out to me. I never really understood why he would say something like that to me, now I do. He said to me (which I never mentioned to anyone until now), -
" Cherry, I hope you and your group keep the faith alive along with me. For without the fans, the BSG Universe will seize to continue. I am very proud of you and your group along with everyone else, who worked hard to turn things around for everyone at Galacticon 4. "
Richard, I will surely miss you a lot. The friendship and trust you have extended to me, is priceless. That is something that money cannot buy. Thank you for all the support you have given me and my group even to the end. You will have a special place here on everyone’s heart on the Raven my friend. And YES, my group and I, along with many others, will continue to keep the faith alive just for you. Your kindness and energy doing what you love and believe in, will live for generations to come. You have always said to me: " Never give up anything you love to do or passionate about even if obstacles present itself along the way. Always try to find away to push through it! "
" There are those who believe...that life here began out there, far across the Universe...with tribes of humans...who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians...or the Toltec’s...or the Mayans. Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man...who even now fight to survive-somewhere beyond the heavens!"
REST IN PEACE NOW RICHARD!!! You are now amongst the heavens. Gone, but WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN EVER!!!!
BFC Vice President
Commanding Officer-Battlestar Raven-BFC-002