Have you ever met someone and upon meeting them you immediately know that you have been introduced to a very special person?  That was exactly how I felt when I first met Mr. Charles Hutchins.

A tall older gentleman with an infectious smile and kind words for everyone he meets. He greets you with his signature fist bump instead of the normal handshake and he lives his life by example.  He is in fact “The Real Deal”. The kind of person who lives life authentically.

He is eternally hopeful and positive and is someone who has dedicated his life to helping others. He received both the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his military service and later started what is now called The Nolichucky Mental Health facility, which provides outpatient mental health and substance abuse counseling to anyone in need.

Mr. Hutchins/Rev. Hutchins

Mr. Hutchins, or as I should call him, Rev. Charles Hutchins, is the director of church relations and estate planning at Holston United Methodist Home for Children, where he has been responsible for the placement of thousands of children in foster care and adoption.

His life’s work has been geared to helping the children in both his professional and private life.  Raising four children and loving hundreds, if not thousands more, Rev. Hutchins has lived many years doing God’s work with his self-accomplished wonderful wife Eva Gray Hutchins by his side.

A few weeks ago, because of a lifetime dedicated to others, Tusculum University surprised Rev. Hutchins with an honorary Doctorate.  I guess I should call him Doctor Hutchins now.

Which brings me to today.  The day after the story about his honorary Doctorate came out in the newspaper.

Dr. Hutchins

I mentioned to Doctor Hutchins that I read the story and how proud I was of him when he sat down next to me and said that he was really honored, surprised and humbled by the title Tusculum University bestowed upon him, but quickly followed it by saying that no one needed to call him Doctor Hutchins because “the children” all call him Mr. Charles and that was good enough for him.

I framed the story of him receiving his honorary Doctorate and he promptly told me he was going to hang it in his office and then asked another co-worker to help him hang it.  He then walked into the café at Holston Home and greeted the children with a fist bump as they all greeted him back with, “Hey, Mr. Charles! How are doing?”  “Great!” he says as one child after another wait their turn to fist bump him.

There are many decades between Mr. Charles and the children but how many years separate them is unknown because the only thing Mr. Charles will not share with you is his age.  All I know is that he is living a life worth living.  One that gives more than receives and one that leaves people knowing they have met “the real deal.”

Mr. Charles

Five years ago, I was introduced to him as Mr. Charles, many people might know him as Rev. Hutchins and now, thanks to Tusculum University, you may know him as Doctor Hutchins. I realize it could be confusing to the reader because in this story I have used three names/titles to talk about the same man. But whether you call him Doctor Hutchins, Rev. Hutchins, or Mr. Charles, it really doesn’t matter. He is still the same great person. One who has received countless accolades for his generosity and one that his desire to help the children live in a better world supersedes his desire for acknowledgment.

I think William Shakespeare said it best when in the popular play “Romeo and Juliet”, Juliet  argues that it does not matter what Romeo’s name was by saying “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

After all, the pleasure is in knowing Charles Hutchins and not the title you know him by.  Life is mysterious

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