Who is jolly, wears red, and is loved by all the boys, girls, and staff at Hutchens Elementary School? You may think it is Santa Claus, but you are wrong. This man is Hutchens’ very own Mr. Richard. He arrives in his favorite red shirt, an Alabama Crimson Tide jersey, ready to spread help and happiness during the day.
He walks the school halls and warms everyone's hears with a cheerful “Hey there! Good morning! Do you need me to help you with anything?” Richard Merryman’s contributions to Hutchens Elementary school and community are endless. He has spent hours and hours of time helping to make the school a delightful learning environment. His list of generosity ranges from mowing the grass to helping Kindergartens in the cafeteria. His unmistakable mark has been left on every inch of the school.
Mr. Richard charitably gives his time to Hutchens school and children through a number of activities. On any given day he may answer to many different titles. He has been building engineer, cleaning air conditioning vents, changing out light bulbs, hanging bulletin boards, manicuring the school grounds, and spraying for weeds. He has taken time to paint bathrooms, change out ceiling tiles, fix cabinets, and assemble furniture for the staff. He has power washed the front of school, the sidewalks, and the entryway door mat. Mr. Richard is a professional mover. He lifts boxes, moves furniture, and helps teachers relocate classrooms. He can be found in the cafeteria wiping down lunch tables, taking out the garbage and helping our students carry lunch trays to their seats. He is a crossing guard-helping direct traffic for arrival and dismissal. Mr. Richard takes on all of these daunting tasks with a smile and an infectiously positive attitude.
He is a custodian bleaching trash cans, cleaning bathrooms during the summer, and dusting Smart Boards. Mr. Richard is Hutchens' mail carrier, delivering mail and print shop orders to the teachers (all 38 of them).
Mr. Richard’s generosity doesn’t end when the school bell rings. You can find him on Saturdays securing the flags and outdoor furniture in preparation for a hurricane. The week before school was to start the air conditioner leaked causing a flood in the hallway. He was the first one there to help clean up. He moved important documents to safety and put out the blowers to minimize damage. He has sat at the school with teachers while they work late to make sure they are safe leaving the building.
Aside from the countless hours of maintenance he provides our school, it is the personal, kind gestures he offers that make him such a remarkable man. One teacher said that her classroom clock had been broken for a while and she had no idea anyone even realized it. One day she came into her room to find a brand new working clock mounted and set to the correct time on her wall. After asking around, she discovered that Mr. Richard was the man behind that kind gesture. He does all of this without the desire for acknowledgement. Mr. Richard took the time to carefully package, label, organize, and move a teacher’s classroom over the summer because she was tending to sick family members at home.
Through all of his kindness and generosity Mr. Richard finds time to make the students laugh and feel loved. He participates in school videos that encourage academic achievement and motivation. During Christmas some of the teachers had an “elf on the shelf” in their rooms. He helped move the elves and came up with wildly creative places to put them. He also helped leave notes or treats from the elves to the classes. He would always patiently wait to see the excitement on the students faces as they searched for the elves. It was magical. Finally the most important volunteer hat Mr. Richard wears is grandpa, dad, and friend to our children. He showers them with an abundant amount of love that many would not receive elsewhere.
Mr. Richard Merryman was nominated and won the Heart of Gold for Volunteer Mobile and Hutchens Elementary is proud to congratulate and thanik him!