PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
Brian McKinnon and Michaela Maher sit on the G/J Towing float in memory of Lt. Thomas Hutton in Nahant.
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
NAHANT — Good deeds are continuing in the name of a veteran town police lieutenant who founded Nahant’s Christmas parade in 1995.
Despite bitter temperatures, about 65 gathered for the 21st annual Thomas Hutton Santa Parade this weekend and more than $2,000 was raised for local charities. The parade was renamed last year for the longtime officer who saw the joy a Christmas parade brought to Lynn and decided to bring the same to Nahant.
Hutton died in September 2015, almost nine months after sustaining serious injuries from a fall on a patch of ice in his driveway. He had retired from the Nahant Police Department in 2014 following 42 years of service.
At an annual Santa Parade Fundraiser one week before the parade, tickets, raffles and donations raised enough money to fund two scholarships for Nahant students, a $500 donation to Item Santa, and $500 for My Brothers Table, said event organizer Roz Puleo.
The scholarship recipients, two high school students who went to the Johnson Elementary School, will be announced in June at the school’s graduation ceremony, said Puleo.
This year’s big raffle prize was a cruise to Bermuda valued at about $3,500, won by Nahant residents John and Lauren Sherlock.
The donation to Item Santa will help provide needy children with toys this holiday. Now in its 50th year, the Item Santa fund endeavors to make Christmas a little brighter for those who are less fortunate.
This year’s parade featured 12 floats and 60-70 participants.
“It’s great to see it carry on in his name,” said Puleo, who was a longtime friend of Hutton and worked alongside him on parade preparations each year. “We intend to keep it going. Hopefully it will get bigger and bigger. The snow affected it this year.”
Hutton’s son Jeffrey Hutton of Peabody, inherited his father’s tradition last year when he said he couldn’t just sit back and watch, knowing that it was the first without his father.
He and his mother Beverly, who now lives in Salisbury, rode on a homemade float and added a new family tradition.
“They stopped at Tommy’s grave and put flowers on the grave,” Puleo said. “It was nice. I think it’s something (Jeffrey) likes to do. He said it’s something that’s going to continue. As long as Tommy’s parade continues, he’s going to continue.”
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte