Shawn Hutchinson is a local businessman, owner of Satellite Pros, Barton County commissioner for District 3, serving as the commission’s chairman, and a United States Air Force veteran.
But, “being a father is the single most important job I have on this earth,” he said. “I am not even close to a perfect Dad but I believe that allowing our children to help overcome problems and be involved in decision making has helped them to grow into more responsible individuals.”
Hutchinson swore into the USAF on July 27, 2001. “I was in basic training less than 30 days after September 11, 2001. It was a scary time to be joining the military but I wouldn’t change it. I was proud to be in the military during wartime.”
While he was never deployed to a war zone, “I was ready if I would have been called up. We all were.”
But, beyond the fear that gripped the nation following the terrorist attacks on that fateful day, his time in the service had another profound impact on him.
“The very best thing that came from my military service is my family,” he said. “I met my beautiful wife (Jamie Guesnier now Hutchinson) while serving in the Air Force.”
What about Father’s Day Sunday?
“For Father’s Day this year, I plan on doing as little as possible,” he said. “I might run the old BBQ grill, then again, I might not. We have been so busy this last month that I am ready for a real day off.”
A military family
He and his wife served at the same time and were married while they were in the USAF. “Later, our children had to stay with grandparents when we had drills. Our children have the best grandparents whom love them dearly and spoil them rotten.”
However, “Jamie is the one who deserves recognition for her military service,” Hutchinson said. “I did six years, she did 20. I was an E-4, she retired out a lieutenant colonel. I was never deployed to war, she spend three months in Iraq.”
While his wife was in Iraq, the Satellite Pros crew became segregate fathers to the Hutchinsons’ children Blayne and Elle. “Trent, Scott and Brent all spent a lot of time at my house after hours and on the weekends. I couldn’t have got through that time without those guys,” he said of his staff. “Jamie’s mother Shawna and several other family members also helped out with the kiddos. I am forever grateful.”
Now, the couple have three kids, Blayne, 24; Elle, 18; and Eli, 8.
“Blayne has always had a love of music; he has lived off the money he has been able to produce from his music talent since he was 18,” he said. “Elle just graduated from Barton Community College and Great Bend High School at the same time. Elle intends to become an attorney so she can sue me, ha-ha.”
Eli will start third grade in the fall. “He loves playing baseball and Fortnight. I enjoy playing both along with him,” Shawn said.
“Jamie and I are very proud of our children,” he said. “Sometimes it feels as though we have three only children because of the age difference. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”
A little background
Shawn was born in Concordia to Tom and Joyce Hutchinson. He has one younger brother, Jason, who helped start Satellite Pros.
“My brother and I were raised in the family business in Salina and moved to Barton County in 2003. “I also started my business (Satellite Pros) in Great Bend that same year,” he said. “My partners and I started a second business named Central Plains Security in 2013. I can’t imagine a community more supportive of local small business than Barton County Kansas.”
The people here are absolutely wonderful to work with here, and he said he couldn’t be more thankful.
“Very soon, I will have lived in Barton County for more than half my life and I am proud to call this home.”
Speaking to his work as a county commissioner, “I believe the same attributes and community that helped me build a small business are helping to move our county forward. As of now, the county work and the businesses take up most of my energy.”
He doesn’t have a lot of hobbies, seeing how being a parent, business owner and elected official keep him busy. “I will have time for those things when I retire,” he said.
Passing on life lessons
Hutchinson has instilled in his children some of the lessons he learned while in the service.
“After a heated baseball game, I had to teach Eli about game time discipline. He didn’t like the way a play went down and lost his cool,” he said. “I told him about my first day in basic training. I didn’t understand what a drill instructor was telling me to do and I raised my hands as if to say ‘I don’t understand.’ I got ripped up one side and down the other and was told to ‘never lose my military bearing again!’ Heck, I didn’t have any military bearing my first day of basic, but I never lost it again.
“I also had to remind Elle that she was indeed alive when I spent three weeks in Ecuador. I was so worried about her, I think she was 2,” he said. “Blayne was always happy to get to spend some extra time with his grandma.”
What do his kids think?
“I believe our children are proud of our military service,” he said. “It doesn’t come up a lot now that we are both out of the service.”
Elle has toyed with the idea of joining JAG (judge advocate general, a military lawyer) and Eli wants to be a Navy Seal. Time will tell.
“I hope my children know that any problem they face, I face along with them. I also hope that they know how much I love them,” he said.
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