Last month we had the pleasure of meeting several strong women who have lost their husbands in the line of duty. They ordered flags and we made them, often through tears as we thought of how they would be used. They gave us the honor of being a part of their story – in a way we had not fully imagined. Each of their stories touched our hearts and we saw bravery and strength shine through them. But when you speak with them, “their story” – is acutally about the bravery and strength of a person so close to them who passed away fighting a good fight.
In March, we are honoring Fallen Heroes with our Flagology Hero Love Award. We hope you will share a person in your life who has gone before you – but left you with hope, strength and a reason to keep on striving.
Today, I want to introduce you to a very special lady – Beth Hutchens – whose story gives us hope:
Beth and Mickey Hutchens had been married for 26 years in 2009. Sergeant Hutchens was on the police force in Winston Salem and was 18 months from retirement when he was fatally injured in a domestic violence call. Through this tragic loss, Beth and her two daughters made it their mission to keep Mickey’s name alive and to honor his contribution. They volunteer, give and help in so many ways.
When speaking with Beth, I was struck by her positive attitude and outlook. She inspires by her presence. She spoke about Mickey with such heartfelt love and admiration. Yet, she also spoke about the needs of those still with us – and how to make their lives a little easier. Through DonateLife America, Beth found out about a police officer’s 12-year-old child who needed a kidney transplant. After learning his father wasn’t a match, Beth’s daughter immediately signed up to donate her kidney. Wow – just…wow! Beth and her girls also support National Cops – a non-profit that provides counseling to grieving families of Fallen Officers. They also volunteer at the domestic violence shelter in their hometown.
All these things – the giving back – the helping others – the paying it forward – honor’s Mickey and what he lived his life to protect. And I’m writing today to honor him – and to honor Beth and her daughters.
You see – what really stands out in Beth’s story is her sense of community. Instead of retreating to loneliness, Beth and her daughters are keeping Mickey’s flame alive and continuing to spread his goodwill – it feels like Mickey has been with them every step of the way.
OK, friends, it’s your turn. We invite you now to nominate a hero who is still in your heart, for our Flagology Hero Love Award! This could be any fallen hero – someone who died in war, at service to ones’ country, to an illness, or in an accident. We want to hear about those special people who left the world a little better than they found it. Our Flagology Fallen Hero will be announced at the end of March.
Susan, Chief Flagologist
PS. As you nominate your Hero, please also think about a charity or non-profit you’d like to donate a year’s worth of free custom photo flags to if your Hero wins our award. We will contact the charity and make all the arrangements in Honor of your nominee. <Contest closed March 2014>