Fort Worth Exchange Club salutes well-known '61 alum

An alumnus who has saved many babies' lives by inspiring the Baby Moses law has been honored with one of Fort Worth's top awards.

Dr. John M. Richardson, class of '61, received the Exchange Club of Fort Worth's prestigious Golden Deeds Award in May for his service to the community. Amon Carter Sr. was the first recipient in 1924.

The Baby Moses law, which the Texas Legislature passed in 1999, allows parents to abandon unwanted newborns at safe locations such as hospitals and fire stations without fear of prosecution.

The law cites hospitals and fire stations as safe because there are emergency medical technicians or other medical personnel at these locations to treat babies who might need medical care, Dr. Richardson said.

Dr. Richardson believed that if the law saved one baby's life, it was worth all the effort.

Reading a magazine article about unwanted babies being abandoned and left to die planted the idea of such a law in Dr. Richardson's mind. Since his work led to the passage of the law in Texas, more than 40 other states have enacted similar laws.

Dr. Richardson also founded the WARM Place, a support organization for children grieving the loss of a loved one, and helped found the Key School, an institution for children and adults with learning disabilities.

As a pediatrician, he has treated generations of Fort Worth children. And with more than 29 years as attending pediatrician at the Edna Gladney Home for Adoption, he has been involved in more than 9,000 adoptions.

The Golden Deeds Award was presented to Dr. Richardson at a ceremony in the Fort Worth Club. The Fort Worth native also has received the Tarrant County Medical Society Humanitarian Award and the Texas Health Resources Community Service by a Physician Award.