June 2, 2006

Fund to help children of man who
lived and died helping others

By John Shaughnessy

As he approached the shot in the championship, Ryan Tunny had no idea how remarkable or decisive this moment would be.

It happened so quickly, just like his decision to use a red marker to write “CH” on his golf ball before the Boys’ Indianapolis High School City Golf Championship on May 4.

Ryan wrote the two red initials in memory of his 33-year-old uncle, Christopher Hutt, a highway worker who was killed on April 18 when a vehicle struck him as he worked at an Indianapolis road project.

Ryan’s gesture was the same kind of tribute that led Hutt’s friends and family to establish a memorial fund for his children.

“He was everything you needed,” recalled Ryan about Hutt, a man that many of his 25 nieces and nephews called “Uncle Hero.”

“He was cool. He was funny. He liked to have a good time. He was a role model, too. He was a very good athlete and he went to Scecina, just like me.”

Ryan had even followed in his uncle’s footsteps, playing football at Father Thomas Scecina Memorial High School, where Hutt had starred as the quarterback when the eastside Indianapolis Catholic school won its first state football championship in 1990.

“Chris was like a father figure to my two boys, Ryan and Jeremy,” recalled Cathy Mayer, Hutt’s sister. “I was a single parent for a long time. Chris would do sports with them—football, basketball and baseball.”

Ryan remembers the unusual way his Uncle Chris sometimes threw him the football when he was a boy. Ryan would stand on one side of his grandparents’ house and his Uncle Chris would stand on the other side.

“He used to throw a football over the entire house,” said Ryan, who is 18.

Ryan faced that same kind of challenge as he lined up for his second shot on the 15th hole of the city championship at Riverside Golf Course in Indianapolis.

Ryan stood 150 yards from the hole when he unleashed his swing toward the ball, sending it sailing toward the green. Seconds later, the ball rolled into the cup for an eagle, two shots under par. The remarkable shot would eventually be the decisive one as Ryan won the city championship by one stroke.

“I’ve made that shot in practice, but never in a tournament before,” said Ryan, who recently graduated from Scecina. “I was really excited I made the shot. When I saw it in the cup, I saw my uncle’s initials.”

Still, Ryan doesn’t credit making that shot to any heavenly influence from his Uncle Chris. Rather, he sees it as a result of hard work, dedication and effort—qualities that he believes he shared with his uncle, qualities that others saw in both nephew and uncle.

“They’re alike in their athleticism, their toughness, their sense of humor,” said Ott Hurrle, who coached both in football at Scecina. “Ryan has the sly sense of humor that Chris always had.”

For Ryan, his memories of his Uncle Chris always start with the difference that he made in his life as a child, the difference he made in being a role model he could look up to and follow.

Ryan saw those same qualities in the way that his uncle served as a father to his two daughters, 6-year-old Cameron and

3-year-old Katie Mae.

Ryan knew his uncle would also be the same kind of special person and father to the unborn son that his wife, Kristin, is carrying. She is due to give birth to a boy in August, a boy who will be named Christopher.

“Being a husband and a father was the most important thing to him,” said Cathy Mayer, Hutt’s sister and Ryan’s mother. “He simply adored his wife, Kristin, and their two daughters. They were his energy source. One smile or hug from his little girls, and he was good to go for the day.”

It’s why his friends and family have established the Christopher G. Hutt Memorial Fund for the Benefit of the Hutt Children. They want to help him for all the times he made a difference to them.

“I hope the fund continues to grow,” Hurrle said. “It’s very important. He was always helping people. When he died, he was helping others and trying to keep others safe. Those children are going to miss their father. The youngest child will only know his father through the memories others have of him.”

Ryan has his own memories and mementos.

He keeps a rose from his uncle’s funeral in his room. He also has a special place for the golf ball with his uncle’s

initials: on his dresser, amid the trophies he has earned through the years.

“I don’t play with that ball anymore,” Ryan said.

He paused and then added, “I wake up and think about him every day. I know everyone in my family does, too.”

(For more information about The Hutt Children Fund, contact Tricia Anthony of The National Bank of Indianapolis at 317-726-2751. Make checks payable to The Hutt Children Fund and send to:
The Hutt Children Fund, c/o Tricia Anthony, The National Bank of Indianapolis, 4930 N. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis, IN 46205.)


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