From the sidelines
I would be amiss if I didn’t take a moment in the newsroom to remember two important people who passed away this past week. Both Bill Aldridge and David “Hutch” Hutchinson died suddenly.
Aldridge played a major role in the town of Christiansburg, but he also was a prominent voice at the Auburn High School gymnasium. While he was a building inspector, a lot of people knew him as the public address announcer for many Auburn basketball games. He also volunteered as the announcer for Floyd High School’s Chance Harman basketball tournament, and many knew his golden voice for a similar tournament in Roanoke.
I would describe Bill as a smiling face in the midst of chaos. For many years, I knew him as the man who pushed the opening of the Christiansburg Farmer’s Market, but then I heard this voice coming from the speakers in the AHS gym, and I realized it was Bill.
I also do a lot of public addresses, so it was natural for me to enjoy Bill’s work during timeouts, before the game and at halftime. He was famous for playing his favorite tunes over the speakers at many of those events.
He touched the lives of a lot of people that never got to know him. Bill, you will be missed.
Just a day before, I also received word that a longtime sports photographer for our newspapers had passed away. Hutch was also one of those faces that could light up the room.
He was an inspiring drummer and had played with many local bands, but I got to know him as a sidekick when I first started at the Radford News Journal in the summer of 1991. He had a skill )photography) that I was drawn to.
Hutch could step into the darkroom, yes the place where we developed film and printed pictures at that time, and come out with brilliant shots. I always looked forward to what he would bring me.
He also learned how I wanted the story told through his eyes. I will never forget that when one of us in the office was sick, Hutch would say “time to go have some Chinese buffet, eat some garlic and fight off the illness.”
I lost touch with him for a while, but always knew that voice. Three years ago, my church held a free Thanksgiving lunch, and I walked into the room because my family had not planned to gather together, and I heard this voice from across the room.
“Hey, look there’s scoop.” It was Hutch, and he always bragged to people around me that I was a news hound, and that he loved to chase fire trucks and ambulances when Marty heard something on the scanner.
I know he had fought his own demons, but he always had a smile every time I saw him. I will miss him calling me “scoop,” and I will miss his laughter that put smiles on a lot of people over the years.
Again, like Aldridge, many people did not know Hutch but many people knew his photography. They just never got a chance to know him the way I knew him.
Hutch, I hope you will continue to watch over me and say “there goes scoop, he’s got another news story to follow up on.”
I will miss you man, and I will miss your view of the world through the lens of your camera. Maybe, he and Aldridge can have a cup of coffee and laugh at what’s happening in our area this very day.