Columns

Home for the holidays at Hutton Settlement

There’s no place like home for the holidays and for 32 children, Hutton Settlement is the place they call home. Earlier this year, I got to know four of those children.

My friend, Tom McArthur, asked if I’d interview the kids with him for a special edition of the Northwest Profiles television program.

First, a bit of background.

Hutton Settlement was founded by Levi Hutton, a wealthy businessman who made his fortune in the North Idaho mines during the early 1900s. Hutton was an orphan and so was his wife, May Arkwright Hutton. After her death, he decided to use some of his fortune to create a true home for kids like him instead of the institutions that were common at the time.

This year, the settlement celebrated its centennial with a slew of events.

In July, a bronze sculpture by artist Vincent DeFelice was unveiled, and Babe Ruth’s granddaughter, Linda Ruth Tosetti, threw out the first pitch at the memorial baseball game.

Babe Ruth, himself an orphan, had heard about the settlement and visited Hutton in 1924 during an off-season with the New York Yankees.

In late October through early November, a play written by Tim Rarick premiered at the Spokane Civic Theatre. “A Place to Call Home” told the story of the settlement’s founding.

And on Oct. 31, Northwest Profiles devoted a half-hour program to the history of Hutton. The program, which aired on KSPS-TV and kicked off the show’s 33rd season, featured the four children I interviewed with McArthur.

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Tom McArthur and Cindy Hval at KSPS-TV studios with Hutton Settlement residents, from left, Gavin McArthur, 16, Roxy Fredericksen, 14, Anthony Buck, 8, and Trinity Kinville, 11.

Gavin McArthur, 16, Roxy Fredericksen, 14, Anthony Buck, 8, and Trinity Kinville, 11, shared their stories of how they came to live at Hutton, and what the settlement means to them.

Gavin said he and his brother were being raised by their dad. One morning when he was about 4 years old, he heard a knock at the door.

“My dad opened it up and a bunch of police officers stormed in. My brother and I were scared. We ran and hid under a bunk bed. It turns out that he (Dad) was arrested for using drugs at the time. I found out later that he suffered from schizophrenia and mental illness.”

After going through several foster homes, the brothers ended up at Hutton.

“I could tell right away these people are here for me — they’re trying to help me, nurture me and take care of me,” he said.

Roxy said her mother and father argued frequently.

“It was really bad. And then one day my mom, she’s like, ‘Oh you’re not gonna be living with me anymore,’ ” Roxy said.

When she was 7, she moved to Hutton and her two younger sisters soon followed.

Anthony said, “So, I kind of had a bad home when I was a baby ’cause of my mom’s friends, and she didn’t treat me right. I moved here when I was 6.”

Trinity had a similar story.

“When I was just little, our father abused me and my mother,” she said.

The abuse continued when her younger siblings arrived.

“When I was 8, my mother died from an overdose. I lived with my grandma and grandpa for a year,” she said. “One day our uncle came and said, ‘I just found this great place online, and I have friends who used to work there. It’s called Hutton Settlement.’ That summer we started visiting, and we ended up moving to Cottage Two, and I’ve lived there since.”

Each of the children shared their memories of going up the long tree-lined drive at the settlement, and of the love and warmth they found with Hutton’s shelter.

When asked what they’d like to say to Levi Hutton, Roxy said, “Thank you for making this place where I can be myself and have a loving caring family. I didn’t have that before.”

Trinity reflected on what she’s learned since coming to the settlement.

“God loves everyone,” she said. “Even when times are tough it can get better. It will get better. And even if you don’t feel like it, someone’s always there by your side.”

In this season of the year when hearts yearn for home and family, the kids at Hutton Settlement are profoundly grateful for the acceptance and love they’ve found.

“Hutton Settlement to me is a place to call home — a place to call family,” Gavin said.

All Write

Shipmate you stand relieved

tom and shirley tucker at barnes and noble

Harold (Tom) Tucker passed away yesterday morning. His and Shirley’s story is the final chapter in War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation.

This couple is especially dear to me. They attended every book signing they could make it to, shared their story on public TV in a Northwest Profiles episode, and fielded questions from military service members past and present at the Spokane Veterans Forum.

It hurt Tom to speak of the things he saw when his ship, the USS LaGrange, was bombed two days before the end of the war. But he spoke of the wounded and dying men he tried to help. It was important to him that their sacrifice would be remembered.

Following his service during WWll, Tom became one of the first motorcycle police officers in Spokane, Washington, and despite the seriousness of some of the stories he shared, he always made me laugh.

My thoughts are with Shirley today.

“She’s the other half of me,” Tom once said.

Shipmate you stand relieved. We have the watch.

tom and shirley tucker, dating, 1944, low res

 

War Bonds

War Bonds at Spokane Veterans Forum

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Cindy Hval with Myrt and Walt Powers and Harold and Shirley Tucker.

Last night, two couples featured in War Bonds Love Stories From the Greatest Generation were guests at Spokane Veterans Forum.

The Veterans Forum is a group of veterans and Gold Star Mothers who serve as mentors to men and women coming through the Spokane Veterans Court.

The Spokane Veterans Forum (SVF) provides training support, fellowship,
camaraderie and help to veterans from  any Veterans Enhanced
Therapeutic (VET) Court.

Organizers showed the Northwest Profiles video featuring the two couples and then I facilitated a discussion about relationships during and after military service.

The veterans and their mentors proved to be a warm and responsive crowd and gave the Powers and the Tuckers a standing ovation at the conclusion of our discussion.

How wonderful to see these members of the Greatest Generation honored, respected and valued for the wisdom they have to offer us.

War Bonds

War Bonds on Northwest Profiles: Watch Now!

I’m really happy with the work Bob Lawrence and Bill Fitzner did on this segment of Northwest Profiles featuring War Bonds couples Harold and Shirley Tucker and Myrt and Walt Powers.

It’s so wonderful to have video of these special people and to be able to have them share snippets of their stories in their own words.

Click here to see the segment. http://video.ksps.org/video/2365498944/

PS: The War Bonds book giveway sponsored by Spokane Talks Online, is still going on. Enter to win here!

War Bonds

Stay Tuned: War Bonds to be featured on Northwest Profiles

So thrilled that two of the couples featured in War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation will appear in a segment of “Northwest Profiles” a program on KSPS TV.

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Here are Harold and Shirley Tucker being interviewed by producer Bob Lawrence. The Tucker’s chapter is titled “Romance on Wheels.”

Have to admit I teared up when Harold said, “We love each other now more than ever.”

WB taping 3Bob Lawrence made sure to get their autographs!

Then it was out to Cheney where Myrt and Walt Powers were interviewed. They have a unique story “The Marine and the Sailor.” Myrt was the Marine. Or is the Marine. As she said, “There are no ‘former’ Marines.”

WB taping

This six-minute segment will air at 7 PM on Thursday May 28th on KSPS TV.  The stations coverage area includes Western Montana to Central Washington and from Oregon north to Central Alberta.

Hope you’ll all tune in to hear and see these amazing people. You’ll be glad you did!