One of the reasons he became an eye doctor was knowing the story of his Grandmother Rashid, who was separated from her family for seven years because of an eye infection that prevented her boarding the ship in Europe.
"She kept looking for a doctor to remove her eye. She said, 'If this eye is keeping me from my family, then it's of no use to me,' " he recalled. She finally found a doctor willing to remove the eye and she joined her family in the United States. She's the one in old photos wearing an eye patch. Richard Rashid said the condition is easily treatable today.
He and his brother Leroy Rashid recall their father loved the annual reunion and knew his close family would continue to be involved.
"His predominant wish was that we say the Pledge of Allegiance and sing 'God Bless America.' " Leroy Rashid said. And so they do, every single year. This year a cousin is going to provide a special serenade for them.
Mass, which will be said at the South Charleston Holiday Inn owned by the family business, also was important to the late Mitchell Rashid.
"My dad loved to see 200 members of his family receiving communion," Richard Rashid said. He added, laughing, that his dad wasn't much for Mass outside the annual reunion.
Saturday night, during the gala celebration, Richard will gather family members to teach the dabke, a traditional Lebanese line dance.
Family will enjoy good food all during the reunion, including tabbouleh, a grain salad with mint, tomato and parsley, along with 1,000 grape leaf rolls made by female relatives.
"Those will be gone in 10 minutes," Richard Rashid joked.
Mostly, though, the yearly gathering is about just that - gathering to laugh and love.
"It's a lot of talk and gossip," Richard Rashid said.
Contact writer Monica Orosz at mon...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4830.