Recently, the High Point Enterprise ran a front-page Veteran’s Day story about a young couple; 2nd Lt. Marion Akers Hutchens and Violet Glenn Hutchens, young lovers from High Point who met and married during the Second World War. For 18 months they lived happily as husband and wife while he trained to fly a B-17 Bomber for the Army Air Corps. “Hutch,” as he was known by his crew, eventually deployed to Europe despite an opportunity to stay stateside as a flight instructor. You see, he was a true patriot and believed it was his duty to serve in harm’s way when his country was at war. Months later he and his crew were flying a Christmas Day bombing run over Germany when his plane was seriously damaged by flak. Most of his crew parachuted out safely only to be captured and sit the rest of the war out in a German prison camp. Hutch remained with the plane as he had a member of his crew too wounded to jump and he would not desert him. During this attempt to get his wounded comrade to a hospital in Brussels, fire broke out on-board and the plane was completely destroyed. Hutch died a hero and Violet lost the love of her life.
Most folks will never comprehend the devastating sacrifices our troops, and especially their families made during those six years when our entire world was at war. On the 20th Anniversary of the Normandy Landing, General Eisenhower was asked in an interview about his memories of that historical day and his reply still resonates for he understood the sacrifice. He said it was not the victories, the great leaders, or the strategic implications of the largest invasion force ever launched. It was instead about the many young men and their families who lost everything that day; their futures erased, their loves shattered, families that never happened and grandchildren who were never born. I remembered Eisenhower’s words as I read Hutch’s and Violet’s story last week and I was awed by the courage of this young pilot and the faithfulness of a beautiful girl named Violet who never remarried and mourned the loss of her husband until her dying day.
The rest of this story is equally as inspiring for many years later, the High Point Community Foundation became a small part of it and it is a relationship that I’m proud to say continues on to this day. Violet was a member of the Glenn Sewing Machine Company family and she worked most of her life there. She led a quietly productive life and always had a deep affection and commitment to the children of our community. Over the years she became a very generous, and anonymous, donor who was always there to support any needs that arouse in our local schools. Her gifts have impacted our local students for decades and upon her death her family established an Endowed Fund here at the High Point Community Foundation that will continue to provide funds for needs in our local schools for generations to come. Each year, when our we give out our Annual Grants, Violet’s gift to High Point will always be there underwriting worthwhile projects in our local schools. It’s a promise a young woman made many years ago that we at the Foundation are privileged to carry out in perpetuity to honor the memory of a hero’s sacrifice and the faithfulness of a loving wife.
I want our entire city to know this story for it reveals the true cost of freedom and it honors a young couple who intimately understood the power of love and sacrifice. It brings me great joy to know that we at the High Point Community Foundation have the privilege of keeping these promises alive for donors like Violet so they can continue to impact the community they love and create family legacies that literally go on forever. For good… For High Point… Forever.