Red Cross honors 80-year volunteer Helen Hutt

PORT CLINTON It's more blessed to give than to receive. And no one knows that better than Hele
May 24, 2010



It's more blessed to give than to receive.  And no one knows that better than Helen Hutt.

Hutt has been an American Red Cross volunteer for 80 years, yet she bears the honor with a touch of humility.

"You do it because it's something that you should do. It just so happens that I lived longer than everybody else," Hutt said, chuckling silently to herself.

Hutt, 94, who's often described as "spunky," started volunteering when she was 14 years old by teaching swimming lessons to children.

The 1930 Elyria High School graduate did not stop there, but went on to work as a paid staff member in the South Pacific during World War II.

Hutt's passion for volunteering stayed with her through the 1960s, when she taught swimming lessons at Port Clinton's city beach and throughout Ottawa County. Hutt was also an active volunteer in the 1970s and '80s.

"Once you get started, it's hard to stop," Hutt said. "It just goes on and on with the many things that you can help with."

Donald B. Dudley Jr., senior vice president of the American Red Cross, recognized Hutt's achievement with an 80-year-volunteer pin during a ceremony Wednesday at Magruder Hospital, where Hutt has volunteered for the last 30 years.

Dudley said Hutt's 80 years of volunteer service is likely the longest he's come across while he's been in office.

"She is exceptional," Dudley said. "Volunteers, they are the lifeblood and backbone of our community."

As Hutt accepted the award, she was greeted with a roar of applause and a standing ovation.

The pin was not the only honor she received.

Ottawa County Commissioners Carl Koebel and Jim Sass presented Hutt with a proclamation making Dec. 12 "Volunteer Helen Hutt Day" throughout Ottawa County.

Sass said Hutt's volunteer work really reflects the spirit of giving.

"She didn't want the recognition, and that's a credit to her," he said. "She's just doing her job."

Port Clinton Mayor Tom Brown also presented Hutt with the Distinguished Service award.

"It's from our hearts with love," Brown said. "You truly are one of Ohio's finest citizens."

Hutt continues to volunteer, despite suffering a broken hip three years ago.

She serves on the Advisory Board of the American Red Cross Ottawa County District Office and seems compelled to keep going.

"She just has so much to give," said Beth Leggett, director of the Red Cross' Ottawa County District Office. "She exemplifies the American Red Cross, our mission, our fundamentals in her everyday living."

Hutt's great-niece, Becky Hutt of Denver, glows with pride when she talks about her great-aunt.

"I think it's amazing what she does," Becky Hutt said. "She's just a wonderful person and an inspiration."