Lehi Historical Society and Archives: Hutchings praised for LFD service, business owner for over 40 years

Editor’s Note: The Lehi Historical Society and Archives is proud to present the stories of its Lehi Heritage Day 2022 winners. Brett and Janys Hutchings Critchfield is the Fourthof nine articles featuring this year’s winners. Each couple will be celebrated on Lehi Heritage Day on September 5, beginning at 2:30 p.m., with a parade, celebration with the mayor, city council and the public, and a meet and greet. Free city-sponsored event honors those who have done great service to Lehi andhonors the remarkable story of Lehi. This year’s theme is “100 Years of Lehi’s Fine Homes”. For more information on Lehi Heritage Day or the Classic Car and Bike Show, visit lehihistory.com.

Bret and Janys Hutchings are a true service-oriented Lehi power couple, each influential and successful.

Together, Bret and Janys are known as the friendly and honest owners of Hutch’s Home Furnishings, through which they have served Lehi since 1980. But there is much more to note than that.

Bret, the youngest of Harold and Marie Hutchings’ six children, joined the Utah National Guard between his junior and senior years at Lehi High School. After returning from his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he was recommended for officer candidate school and commissioned in 1982. His major was combat engineer and he graduated his degree at the top of his class to engineer. Officer Advanced School in Fort Belvoir, VA. He served in numerous units across the state, including the Lehi 117th Float Bridge Unit and as the Commanding Officer of the HHC 1457th Engineer Battalion at American Fork.

As platoon leader, his unit leveled the area for the Hill Air Force Base Air Museum. The 1457th Battalion was activated for Desert Storm in January 1991, making Bret, the staff officer, responsible for creating deployment orders for nearly 700 soldiers in less than a week. He retired at the rank of major after serving 22 years.

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Bret was also a member of the Lehi Fire Department for 32 years. He has seen the service grow from a part-time volunteer service to a full-time operation. In 1982, when Bret was invited to join the LFD. Firefighters wore pagers, and the city had a loud air raid siren that sounded to warn members of a fire. Firefighters rushed to the station, grabbed their gear, which consisted of an orange jumpsuit, and headed for the fire. The LFD was one of the highest rated fire departments in the state.

Bret has held many positions within the department, including engineer, captain, training officer, assistant arson investigator, and assistant fire chief. He received the LFD Heritage Award in April 2022.

Janys Critchfield Hutchings was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. She is the third of Arthur and Leah Connolly Critchfield’s six daughters. Janys graduated with a Composite Social Studies degree from BYU and has taught at Mountain Ridge Junior Highin Highland for the past 29 years. She teaches AP Human Geography, World Civilizations, Utah Geography and History ALL classes. She loves teaching and laughs when people tell her she is brave or crazy to teach in middle school. His response is, “You never have a boring day in college.”

When Janys married Bret and moved to Lehi, she wanted to be involved in the community. She has volunteered on the Lehi Parade and Special Events Committee for 14 years, serving as Chairperson for three years. During this time, she saw a fun way for businesses in the area to interact with the community. The result was the creation of the Lehi Main Street Halloween Parade, which invites costumed children to trick-or-treat in Main Street businesses. This is an excellent Lehi tradition that continues today.

Janys served three years on the Lehi Board of Adjustment and 18 years on the Planning and Zoning Commission, including four years as chairman. She spent countless hours preparing for these meetings as Lehi experienced rapid growth from 2000 to 2018. Her goal has always been to help Lehi grow while maintaining the “hometown feeling” that so many many people love about Lehi.

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Bret and Janys are the proud parents of Erika Hutchings Woodruff (David), Travis Hutchings (Jessie), Trent Hutchings and Leslie Hutchings. They have three grandsons – Marcus, Lewis and Frederick.

Alejandro L. Myatt