Walking with a purpose

13 years ago

    HOULTON, Maine — A group of 54 walkers enjoyed a beautiful spring day Saturday to remember a former classmate and friend during the second annual Walk Like M.A.D.D. – Remember Darcie Hutchinson event.

Held at Houlton High School, the event was a fundraiser for Mothers Against Drunk Driving and organized by Heather McCarthy, a schoolmate of Hutchinson at HHS. Hutchinson was a graduate of the Class of 1993 at HHS and was killed in Connecticut in 1996 at the age of 21 by a drunk driver.

Hutchinson’s sister, Nicole, a 1988 HHS alum, participated in a large scale Walk Like M.A.D.D. event in Raliegh, N.C. Saturday. Her fund-raising goal for that walk was $7,000, but she went on to raise $9,195 in the event, finishing as the top walker.

“Darcie was my best friend, who was killed by a drunk driver,” McCarthy said. “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her at one time or another, always with a smile on my face and joy in my heart, as that is how I remember Darcie, with so much love and joy, and always trying to help whoever she could in any way. She was a wonderful person, great daughter, sister, and my best friend. She made a difference in every life that she touched, and although it will be 15 years this September since her death, she many be gone, but she is definitely not forgotten, and proof of that was today.”

The Houlton walk also served as a fundraiser for M.A.D.D. and raised just over $400 for the cause.

“I would love to thank everyone who participated either in the walk or by donations or both,” McCarthy said. “I want to make a difference. While most organizations are hoping for a cure, the cure for drunk driving is already here, it’s being responsible. If you chose to drink, don’t drive. It is so simple and yet there are still so many fatalities because of it. By walking, we want to encourage people to think and act responsibly.”

Walkers who participated in the event included Martha Bell, Diane and Tessa Winship, Melissa Trecartin, Alyssa Gould, Kelly and Allison Little, Heather McCarthy with Darcie and Skyler, Marty and Kristie Fitzpatrick with Caden and Nicholas, Rob Henderson, Kathy Collins with Alex and Payton, Crystal Blake with Jennah and Matthew, Judi Britton, Debbie Campbell, Sara Deveau, Linda Wotton, Tessa Burpee with Nora, Steve and Sandra Straubel, Marcie and Halle Duff, Molly Conlogue, Audra Cowperthwaite with Maggie, Kathy Bushey with Emily, Heather Rafter, Jessica and Morgan Wotton, Jane Fitzpatrick, Jessica Jewell, Astrid Smith, Carlene Romanelli, Michele and Jonathan Buza with Robert, Sarah Noland with Leah and Lauren, Bob Cowperthwaite, Heidi and David Fitzpatrick with Jeremy and Andrew McEwen.

“It was a wonderful day,” McCarthy said. “The sun was shining. We walked, told stories and reminisced about the good times.”

McCarthy said her children, Darcie (named after her mother’s deceased friend) and Skyler, looked forward to the walk and were a great help. They helped put posters up all over Houlton and the surrounding areas, made picket posters and even made shirts to show their support. Her youngest child Natalee was unable to attend and was disappointed as she had made her our shirt as well.

“Although the kids never met Darcie, through family and friends sharing stories, they feel like they knew her well, and that is what it is all about, having something good come out of such a tragedy,” McCarthy said.