Action Report: Benefit for retired NOPD officer fighting Parkinson's


Posted on July 10, 2014 at 6:41 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 11 at 5:13 AM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @billcapo

NEW ORLEANS - "Can you get it to your mouth, baby?" Wendy Siegel asks her husband. Richard Siegel answers softly, "I can give it a try."

Click for information on the benefit for Richard Siegel

Eating takes tremendous concentration for former New Orleans Policeman Richard Siegel. He's fought Parkinson's Disease since he was diagnosed the year he retired - 2000.

"It pretty much stops you from doing anything," Richie starts to explain, then falters. "Like right now, I've lost my train of thought, just that quickly."

"When I was a young officer, there were a lot of names you heard early and often, and Richie's was one of them," said Police Chief Ronal Serpas. "The man had an amazing reputation of integrity."

"We loved it, you know, it was another family," Richie said, remembering his days on the Force.

Richie Siegel was a dedicated body builder who spent 34 years as a cop in the Police Intelligence Unit, protecting visiting dignitaries. Now he can barely walk.

"He went from like the man, he was the first through the door, he was always taking care of everybody, to where I have to take care of him now," said Wendy.

Richie and Wendy have been married for 27 years, and they were instantly attracted to each other.

"During the World's Fair actually," recalled Richie. "When you first saw her, what did you think? Oh yeah!"

"I'm going to start crying here," said Wendy, tearing up. "It wasn't the way he looked, it was his heart, his kind heart. He is the most honest, kind man I think I have ever known."

Many days Richie can't even talk.

"He's still there," Wendy said. "Yeah I love him."

"(I love her) with all my heart," said Richie.

This Sunday from 2 pm - 10:30 pm they are hosting a special benefit for Richard Siegel, Rocking For Richie here at Rock N Bowl.

"We have two different kinds of gumbo, we'll have red beans, we'll have hot dogs, we'll have all sorts of food," said benefit organizer and performer Bobby Cure.

And eight top bands will thank Richie for protecting and serving.

"I hope a lot of people have an opportunity to celebrate with him," said Chief Serpas.

"I'd like to tell them that I'm still around," Richie said. "Just come give me a pass by, sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee."