Bruce and Jill Hutcherson are Grand Marshals of Patriot parade

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There is perhaps no couple that symbolizes a community like Bruce and Jill Hutcherson symbolize the town of Patriot. The couple have been active in the community and the county for many years; and this Monday, they will be officially honored by the town they love as the Grand Marshals of the Patriot 4th of July Parade.

Bruce Hutcherson was born and raised on the farm he lives on today on Gridley Road, and his dad farmed the Tandy farm along the river. Bruce and Jill and children Kim and Joe also lived a good portion of time on the Moredock Farm on the east side of Patriot before Bruce and Jill returned to the home place.

The son of Bruce and Lucille Hutcherson, Bruce was a 1960 graduate of Patriot High School before continuing his education at Purdue University. From there, he returned home to teach agriculture and industrial arts for five years at Patriot High School; then one year at Switzerland County High School before returning to farming fulltime.

“I guess it is,” Bruce said of the honor of leading the parade in his hometown. “All of our years were spent here.”

Bruce served the county as a member of the ASCS board for many years; and was honored as the Soil and Water Conservation District’s “Conservation Farmer of the Year” in 1991; and earned the Silver Star Award for a lifetime commitment to agriculture in 2008.

Jill Hutcherson was born in South Bend, Indiana, and grew up in Newport, Indiana, and after graduation she attended Purdue University.

It was a rainy, chance encounter that led her to meet Bruce while both here in college.

“I was walking back from class and it was pouring rain, and a hometown friend of mine, Don Harness, pulled up in his car and said, ‘Get in, you’re going to get soaked’,” Jill remembered. “When I got in the car, Bruce was in there, too.”

After the Bruce left teaching and began farming fulltime, the family had a hog operation and all types of row crops – but then something else caught Bruce’s eye.

“One day he saw a tractor pull and thought that looked like fun, so he built a tractor,” Jill smiled. “Then we had an 18-year odyssey going all over the country and pulling tractors. Had the ‘Makin’ Bacon’ special. We pulled all over the United States and Canada; and then we had the opportunity to go to France and take the tractor. So it was shipped to France and we flew over with the kids. Got to spend a couple of weeks over there, and made some life long friends.”

So, after traveling the country and the world, how’s life in Patriot?

“Life in Patriot….” Jill pauses. “Life in Patriot is the typical small town, where the good thing is, everybody knows your business, and the bad thing is that everybody knows your business. But when something happens, they’re all there for you. You may have your differences, but they’re all put aside when you need somebody. It’s a great place to live. I’m glad our kids grew up here. They made life long friends.”

Daughter Kim currently resides in Illinois; while son Joe lives in Indianapolis.

Jill Hutcherson moved to Southeastern Indiana in the summer of 1965, taking a job and apartment in Aurora, figuring she and Bruce would head back to Purdue that fall. When he signed a contract to teach at Patriot High School, she moved to Patriot in August of that year, and the couple was married in the old Patriot Methodist Church.

“I didn’t even know where Patriot was when I met Bruce,” she laughs.

During her time here, she has become a standard bearer for what it means to be involved in your community and county.

She served on the Switzerland County Park Board for more than 20 years; and then also served on the Patriot-Posey Township Park Board up until last year, when she told them that it was time for the younger members of the community to step up and take some responsibility and get involved.

“They’ve got a good bunch working on it now,” she says. “They call me when they need something, which is fine.”

She was a founding member of the Switzerland County United Fund board; served as treasurer of the Switzerland County Library Board; and serves as the organist at Patriot Baptist Church. Earlier this year, she was ordained as a deacon at the church.

And her thoughts on the honor?

“It is a sense of pride,” Jill says. “The first time they asked me, I told them, ‘No, find somebody else more deserving’, but they kept hounding on me, so finally I said yes. But it’s a great program that we have on the 4th of July, especially the program with the veterans; and it’s just such an honor to be part of that. I think it gives young people the opportunity to see what our veterans have done for us.”

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This year’s Patriot Fourth of July Parade will be this Monday, July 4th and will begin at 11 a.m.

Participants will line up at the Patriot boat ramp northeast of town beginning at 9 a.m. Registration will be held on a first come, first served basis so come early for a good spot.

It should be noted that all children riding on horses and four-wheelers in the parade must be wearing a helmet. There are no exceptions.

The flag ceremony at the Memorial Park will begin immediately after the parade hopefully around noon.

Once the flag presentation has been completed, everyone is invited to proceed across the street to Harris Park for dinner at 1 p.m. Entertainment will include music, games and inflatable recreation.

Members of the Patriot/Posey Park Board are: Stephany Abplanalp, Nicole Renger, Mike Turner, Larry Monjar, Jerry Turner and Marlin Abplanalp Jr.

Both the Patriot and Posey Township Fire Departments will assist with the preparation and execution of the Parade.