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Father's Plea: Name New Fire Station After Son

Father asks town break with tradition and name new fire station after 12-year-old son who perished in 2006.

Joseph Alexander Hutson was a hero — and not just according to his dad.

The 12-year-old boy, who died as he attempted to cross Central Avenue at Butternut Road in 2006, was an organ donor and always helped those in need.

Wednesday, nearly six years after his death, his father Fred Hutson made a public appeal to the Summerville Town Council to name the new fire station slated for Butternut Road after Joseph. The new station will rest where the Hutson family has lived since before their son's death. 

Hutson was accompanied Wednesday by his wife Beverly and 11-year-old son William (in photo).

"He was a fine, upstanding young man to be 12 years old," Hutson said during public comments of the regular town council meeting. Hutson appeared in his Dorchester County uniform. He's a driver for the county's public works department. "He was an organ donor and helped save a lot of people's lives."

Joseph inspired others touched by his story to become organ donors, Hutson said. Joseph was posthumously recognized by the National Kidney Foundation.

He also touched others in the community while he was alive. Hutson told Patch that two days after Joseph's death he received a phone call from a woman who had not previously met the family. She said she remembered driving past Joseph on a bad day. He smiled and waved, and turned her day around, Hutson said. 

"I never realized a lot of that stuff til after he was gone," Hutson told Patch. "He was my best friend as well as my son. If it wasn't for God and Jesus, I wouldn't be standing now."

But asking the town to name a fire station after a person who was not a firefighter breaks with a long-standing tradition for most municipalities, according to Director of Public Works Charlie Miller. In a town that was home to three of the firefighters who perished in the 2007 Sofa Super Store fire in Charleston, there may be already names ahead of Joseph's.

"We haven't even begun talking about naming the station, but traditionally in Summerville, fire stations have been named after people in fire service," Mayor Bill Collins told Patch. "But we haven't even discussed it. I certainly will bring that to the attention of council."

Collins said that if the building is named after a firefigher instead of Joseph, perhaps a community room within the building might be named after him. 

According to Collins, the new fire station could be finished as soon as end of this year or early 2013. He said Wednesday night was the first he had heard of Hutson's plea.

Hutson said it's not his style to write a letter encouraging Joseph's name to appear on the building. He wanted to address council face-to-face.

"I figured I'd come up here and lay it out on the line," Hutson said.

Council gave second and final reading to rezone the property slated for the new fire station Wednesday night. Council did not address Hutson's request during the session.

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