Dan Race was filling up his tank at a gas station a few months ago when he saw a woman loading sandbags into the back of her truck.
“I didn’t realize it was her and I went over and said, ‘Ma’am, can I help you do that?’ ” Race said.
When the woman turned around, Race realized it was Mary Jo Lyonnais-Baun, one of the Hutton Settlement’s longtime staff members.
“I’m like, ‘Get out of the way, Mary Jo, you don’t need to be doing that,’ ” Race said.
Respect for others, accountability, a strong work ethic and responsibility are all things Race said he learned in his time at Hutton.
When Race was 9 years old, his father was no longer able to care for him and decided to send him to Hutton.
“I was unsure of what was going on here,” Race said.
The first two people he met were his new cottage parents, Bill and Cathy Dunn, who he describes as “friendly grandparents.”
“They were instrumental people in my early days here,” Race said.
Race thrived at Hutton, making fast friends with his new roommates, a pair of brothers named Raymond and Rodney.
The boys played football, soccer and basketball, spending as much time outdoors as they could.
“It was hard to get us to go back inside,” Race said.
When Race turned 14, just before his freshman year of high school, his dad was ready for him to come back home.
“I had mixed emotions, I guess,” Race said. “I was excited to go, because I was moving back in with my dad. My dad is my world, so that was pretty exciting for me. It was sad, because I had 40 brothers and sisters that I had been living with and I wouldn’t get to see anymore.”
Race stayed in touch with the staff and siblings he had at Hutton and looks back on his five years there fondly.
“I don’t have any ill will toward him (his dad), as far as me coming here, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to be here. I think it shaped who I am today,” Race said.
Race is a father himself, with four children – three boys ages 19, 16 and 14 from a previous marriage and a 2-year-old “baby girl.”
He recently got engaged and was looking forward to bringing his fiancee to Hutton during the centennial celebrations.
Race continues to give back to Hutton and visits as much as he can.
“Anything that I can ever do to help out or give back in any way, I’m always the first to volunteer to do it,” Race said.
“This place will always hold a special place in my heart.”