By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Northborough – A local couple who has impacted lives for more than a half century will be recognized for their contributions in November at a special fundraiser.
Both Ken and Priscilla Hutchins grew up in Walpole where they attended grade school and high school together, graduating in 1958 and then marrying three years later in 1961.
“I took her to the junior prom and have never had a date with another,” Ken said affectionately.
Following graduation and a year of post graduate study, Ken, 73, joined the Navy where he served a three-year tour as a sonar man on 3 different destroyers. After leaving the Navy, Ken worked a string of law enforcement jobs – at the Walpole Police Department, Brigham Young University Police Department, Utah County Sheriff's Department, and Lakewood Colorado Police Department – before taking a job as Northborough's police chief in 1980. He worked in this capacity until retiring in 2003.
Ken retired because, he said, “it was time.”
“I was tired of the day to day grind and felt I had brought change and professionalism to the department in a number of ways?including obtaining national and state accreditation status,” he said. “Secondly, my wife and I wanted to serve a mission for our church and wanted to do that while we still had our health.”
The Hutchins are devout Mormons who were both baptized into the church in 1968. They served as president and matron of the Boston Massachusetts Temple from 2006 to 2009.
Following high school graduation, Priscilla, 72, attended a five-year nursing program at Simmons College in Boston and graduated in 1963 with BA in nursing. Priscilla worked in mental health at the Medfield State Hospital and then as a school nurse at Walpole High School. She also worked as a medical surgical nurse at Norwood Hospital and then in labor and delivery at Utah Valley Hospital before deciding to stay home and raise her children.
Ken and Priscilla raised seven children, including two sets of twins. They have 43 grandchildren.
Besides raising their own children, the Hutchins have been foster parents to over fifty children.
“It was really a Priscilla venture that I supported,” said Ken.?”She loved kids, especially ones that did not come from happy homes. One thing led to another.?She did such a good job that placement agencies were always calling her to try and place additional kids.”
Ken and Priscilla embraced their foster children and found that the experience changed their lives in ways they had not anticipated.
“I suspect it has grounded us and opened our eyes to the need for many vulnerable children to be nurtured and?taught in a solid home with loving parents,” said Priscilla. “As we went through this experience we realized that we were loved in return in ways we had not expected. It helped us to come to the realization that perhaps the most?important purpose we live on this earth for is to try and raise children with a love for the Lord and a belief system that would be the source of strength and purpose in their life going forward.”
Ken said that being a foster parent makes him realize that things of value have filled his life.
“It is the knowledge that you can make a positive difference in someone's life that lasts a lifetime, to create memories that fill the pages of your life and become the focus of discussions and laughter,” said Ken.
Their children – Amy Jo, Jennifer, Richard, Aaron, Benjamin, Becky and Zachary – as well as many of their grandkids – have continued Ken and Priscilla's legacy of giving back by serving on mission trips and volunteering in their churches and communities.
With child rearing and fostering behind them, the Hutchins hope to visit Arlington National Cemetery, serve another mission and live long enough to see and hold great- grandchildren.
The Hutchins will be honored at the Northborough Interfaith Clergy Association (NICA) dinner/dance fundraiser on Nov. 9.
For more information on the NICA fundraiser contact the St. Rose of Lima Church at 508-393-6444.