“My earliest memories are of the Mo slide and time spent with friends thinking up new ways to go down it — like headfirst on my back,” Walt Richardson said.
His wife, Martha Richardson, started coming to Mo with her parents and siblings as a young child.
“I don’t remember much about my first visits, though I always knew it was a special place to my parents,” she said.
Her richest memories of Mo are after she and her husband moved their own family to Austin, Martha Richardson said.
“The road from Ingram with all the river crossings is one of the most beautiful drives in Texas, I believe,” she said. “And when we come across the river at the Mo-Ranch Crossing, it just feels like we are home.”
In the 1990s, their daughters started attending Mo’s youth conferences and retreats. It was also during those years that the couple started attending their All Church Retreats at Mo, Martha Richardson said.
“From that time forward, Mo-Ranch has been a special place for us, and it has been wonderful to see it grow and change to where it is today,” she said.
The couple, who are members of Westminster Presbyterian Church of Austin, also helped start Guadalupe Gathering.
Guadalupe Gathering is a volunteer group that travels to Mo to help staff with tasks like maintenance work and rolling silverware for the Thanksgiving buffet.
“This group affords us wonderful fellowship with special people, an opportunity to give back to Mo-Ranch through volunteer projects and time to share in study, prayer and worship,” Martha Richardson said.
From committee meetings, personal and church retreats to attending youth programs with their children, Martha and Walt Richardson have attended several Mo-Ranch activities over the years.
But for Martha Richardson, the Mo moments closest to the heart are the ones spent with her family — three daughters, two sons-in-law and four grandsons.
“Probably my favorite times have been bringing our kids and grand kids out here so that now they are developing a love of this place,” she said.
Walt Richardson agreed.
“Most of my memories are with people — getting to know new friends, renewing old friendships, spending quiet time with family,” he said.
Both have volunteered their time on the Mo-Ranch Board of Trustees and are members of the Circle M Club.
“I volunteer my time to serve on Mo’s BOT because I believe in our mission in this special place,” Martha Richardson said. “We are blessed with a wonderful president and staff and it is a gift to be able to work with them in making Mo-Ranch the best it can be.”
She has been a board member since 2018 and has served on the Finance, Operations and Membership and Nominations committees.
“One of my special projects is to help develop a template for new board member orientation and I am really excited about doing that,” Martha Richardson said.
Walt Richardson served on the BOT from 2005 to 2017, volunteering his time on the Finance and other committees.
“I had an opportunity to see many positive changes at Mo,” he said. “It was fun working with the staff and other board members toward a common goal of improving Mo for future generations.”
Walt Richardson’s advice to others thinking about donating their time or money to Mo is simple.
“Do it! For Mo and for you. It’s all about the future,” he said. The expression “pay it forward” seems particularly apropos in this context. Having fun now while creating and maintaining something for generations to come seems like the very definition of win-win”.
No matter how often they are at Mo, the feeling they get when they arrive will never change, the couple says.
“We both feel that Mo-Ranch is a very “thin place,” somewhere we feel a real connection to creation and to our creator,” Martha Richardson said. “In our minds, it is sacred ground. Even when we come to work, we feel a sense of renewal and for that we are grateful.”