On Oct. 15, 1951, Dallas Porter Hutchison became the 13th paid firefighter in Fairfax County and the first at Chantilly's Fire Station 15. And last week, a special display of memorabilia at that station was dedicated to him.
Hutchison, himself — a longtime Chantilly resident who served three decades at Station 15 — donated his old helmet, boots and pants to the display. And other firefighters contributed their memorabilia, too.
BUT WHEN Hutchison, 80, of Poplar Tree Estates, came there with his family last Friday, Nov. 30, to see the display case, he had no idea it would be dedicated in his honor. Indeed, basking in the glowing words and acclaim from the firefighters, he joked, "I feel like I'm up for promotion."
County Fire Chief Ronald Mastin recalled knowing Hutchison as a sergeant, long ago, back when Hutchison was still farming. And he was delighted to take part in Friday's ceremony and see the display of firefighting history.
"I'm really pleased for everyone who did this," said Mastin. "And I bet you'll see this in a lot of other fire stations now; it's an inspiration."
Mike Runnels, the station's C-shift commander, said firefighters there "worked on this thing up until 3 p.m. [Friday], and we're still accepting things." As for Hutchison, he said, "I think this is a great idea — not only for the personnel, but for the community they serve."
Mastin presented Hutchison with a book containing the history of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, and Capt. Pete West, a five-year volunteer at Station 15, gave him a book with photos of county fire department equipment.
"This is phenomenal," said Hutchison's son Rick, afterward. "We're pleased with what they've done, and we're honored as a family that they've honored him."