ANDERSON — The family of Jordan Michael Hutton said goodbye to the 23-year-old in January. A victim of the brutal winter, the young man was lost to his family well before his time.
Thanks to donations and cooperation from the city, Hutton's family will always have a physical manifestation of Jordan in Pulaski Park, where he could often be found playing basketball.
On May 31, the family dedicated a bright red bench at the park. Designed and installed over the spring, the bench is the only one of its color in the park, a nod to Hutton's favorite color and his favorite basketball team, the Chicago Bulls. Family and friends gathered at the park, and several spoke about their memories of Hutton.
Jim Hutton, his father, admitted that he couldn't bring himself to speak, but that the ceremony was beautiful. The inlay of the bench features a plaque with Hutton's name and a logo of basketball legend Michael Jordan, Hutton's namesake. Next to the bench is a memorial stone with a message of remembrance. Hutton said the bench is exactly what his son would've wanted.
"There's a lot of history of him in that park. It's great that everyone agreed to that," Hutton said. "The bench is unique, but faithful to that park. I think it's a good honor to him."
Jordan lost his life on the night of Jan. 6, felled by one of the worst Indiana winters on record. About 14 inches of fresh snow had just coated the county, and temperatures were well below zero. That night, deadly windchill factors dropped below -40. Hutton was out driving his black Chevrolet Impala — which his family affectionately called the Batmobile — and got stuck as night started to fall.
Hutton, who loved the car, tried desperately to extract the vehicle from the snow and ice. Wearing only a windbreaker and light clothing, he wasn't dressed nearly heavily enough for the weather, and eventually called a friend to pick him up.