Jim Hutchinson ("Hutch") has been a big influence on me. He mentored me when I became a member of our local Select Board. He used his vast experience to tell me when a particular battle was worth fighting vs. when a battle might be unwinnable or political suicide. Because he spent so much time working with Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports (VASS), and because VASS works at the mountain where I teach skiing, I had some connection to VASS as well. Because of knowing Jim, I wrote a grant request that got $2000 for VASS. When I won a snowboard in a raffle last winter, I figured I could use it sparingly or find a way to put it to better use. I asked Jim about it and he told me that VASS could use it in a season-ending silent auction fund-raiser.
That's the kind of guy Hutch was. Once you got to know him, you got sucked into his causes because he so clearly cared about them. Because of Jim, I also started to volunteer for the Vermont 100 a few years ago, rather than just running or pacing. I've come to greatly enjoy that work each year. While I did run the Vermont 100 before Hutch was the RD, it's hard to imagine the race without him as an RD. I know that his wife wanted him to step down and actually relax a bit in his retirement, but Jim only seemed to have one speed - full on.
Jim was one my two representatives in the Vermont House of Representatives. I greatly respect his work there, and even those who disagree with him, have found him hard to dislike. The local papers have focused on Hutch the politician. It's the rest of his life that I admire the most.
Last summer, I attended Jim's 60th birthday party. It was a great event, despite some rainy weather. There was a lot of beer and a lot of meat cooked in a big smoker. There was a lot of laughter as well - all day long.
So, Hutch represented me in town government and in state government. He directed a race that I love. He is the past director of VASS, an organization that I greatly admire. Jim mentored me in local government. He sucked me into volunteering more in my life. He was my friend. I can't even describe how much I'll miss him.
Workouts (they don't really seem important right now): 7 x 800 meters last night, averaging 3:24.5 (slower than two weeks ago). Lower body weights this morning: squats, deadlift shrugs, step-ups, Bulgarian split squats (all 4 x 10), and then some inclined reverse crunches (3 x 15). I'll run easy for an hour tonight.