Daniel Dutton, a seventeen year old Walker High School senior, has faced more challenges in his seventeen years than many people face in a lifetime. Daniel has lost his father, step-father, and mother all unexpectedly. When Daniel was eight years old his father passed away. In August of 2009, Daniels step-father, whom was also his best friend, passed away. Ms. Janie Dutton, Daniels mother, was a substitute teacher at many of the Jasper City Schools and was very close to many students. On January 24, 2010, Ms. Dutton, had an aneurism which resulted in her having a stroke, a massive heart attack and a number of other serious health problems. Unfortunately Ms. Dutton lost her life that night. Despite the loss of Daniels father and step-father, losing his mother automatically changed his life forever, because now he has no immediate family members to turn to.
The death of Daniels immediate family members has basically put his life on fast forward. Now, he lives by himself in the family home. Daniel pays the bills, washes his clothes, cooks, cleans the house, and does what every parent would do for their child, but he is seventeen years old and is doing it for himself. “There is nothing too difficult about it, you have to keep the house up and keep the clothes clean and cook food so you will have something to eat,” Daniel said. He prefers to cook over going out to eat, cooking foods such as hamburgers, steaks, hot dogs, bacon and eggs. When asked if he is a good cook, Daniel responded with, “Absolutely! I’m the best.” As far as cleaning the house and washing clothes Daniel does all of that by himself and so far has not messed up any of his laundry.
Daniel has spoken to different church youth groups to tell his story. “Respect your parents,” Daniel says is the number one thing to do. Daniel gets his strength from his memories of his mother, father, step-father, as well as friends, relatives, and most importantly God. “If I were to give up I would be on my butt,” he added, “Failure is not an option.” A passage he lives by everyday is Luke 1:37 which says “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
Daniel will be greatly missed at Walker High School, not only by his friends, but also by the athletic training staff and athletic coaches. He has spent the past four years helping Bob White, our athletic trainer, and helping the coaches with field maintenance. Daniel has recorded over 2,000 hours of volunteer hours spent here at Walker preparing fields, managing equipment, and mowing grass. Dan is one of the biggest Viking fans, and he has attended most all sporting events at the school over the past few years.
For financial support Daniel draws social security from his father’s side of the family, but that will end as he turns eighteen years old. Currently he is in search for a job. Daniel plans to attend Bevill State Community College in the fall to manage the basketball team. He also has plans to get his nursing degree from Bevill State. We all admire his strength, perseverance, and optimistic attitude in the face of such adversity.
By: Julianna Hallman