Dear Family, Friends, and Colleagues,
As you may already know, Michael received The Devra Kleiman Scientific Advancement Award at the AZA annual conference in Seattle on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. It was a wonderful moment to celebrate his contributions in making this world a better place. We all know that he was smiling up there and bragging about it to his new friends.
I would like to take this moment to thank all those who made thoughtful recommendations for Michael to receive this award and a special thank you to Bob Wiese for his efforts in ensuring the recommendation package was submitted on time, pushing for Michael to win this award, and for making all arrangements for our family and friends to attend this award luncheon. Bob did an awesome job in presenting Michael's award and we were so moved to see how many people in the audience had worked with Michael or his projects and initiatives. We were very happy and proud of him and his achievements. Most of you likely did not know, but Michael was at the award ceremony with all of us and was surely happy that two of his good friends also received awards: Terry Maple and Jackie Ogden.
On Thursday, Sept. 27th, we finally honored his wishes to be released to rest near Hurricane Ridge (where he studied mountain goats) in the Olympic National Park. It was the most heavenly place with clear skies, perfect sunny weather, beautiful mountain views, meadows, and colored leaves, and we know his spirit will roam freely up and down the ridges, enjoying the spring wild flowers and running with wildlife. Although most of his mountain goats were removed to other places, he was in support of moving them as they were not native to the Olympic National Park. As much as I wanted to hold on to him, I felt his happiness there and am happy with his new chosen home. I wanted you all to know so that you may say hello the next time you are there.
I would be remiss if I also did not thank again all those who attended Michael’s Life Celebration event onSunday, February 25th, 2018 in Tysons, Virginia, and all those who generously donated to the Dr. Michael Hutchins Impact on Wildlife Fund, which is now officially a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization.
Its mission is to support wildlife conservation and education through direct field projects, community empowerment, and advocacy. I am dedicated to bringing this nonprofit to life and to fund projects important to wildlife and appreciate your continued support. For more information please visit www.impactonwildlife.org.
It has been already 10 months since Michael left us without saying good-bye. He disappeared from our sight and rushed into our memories. People say time will heal all wounds and the pain in our hearts will become duller over time. For me, however, it has been hard to accept his absence and it still feels like he is traveling and will return home soon. I strongly feel his presence around me and I am sure like many of you, I miss him a lot and love him very much. I cannot thank all of you enough for visiting our home and giving warm love and care to me and my family, bringing food, and sending flowers, gifts and nice cards with kind words. Without all of your love and support, I could not have survived and be standing strong today.
My family and I sincerely thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Song Hutchins and family