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‘For being done too soon’

McThoughts by John McPhee

One of the greatest things for me about working as a journalist in a small community is the opportunity to meet fantastic, selfless, and dedicated people who volunteer to help make a difference.

Clayton Gutscher, 67, was one of the best.

He was one of the first faces of Brockton I met when I first came here 10 years ago. It actually was kind of funny how many times I would be out to take a photo of a cheque presentation or some volunteer project and there Clayton would be.

We even joked about it.

At first I brushed it off as coincidence. Through the years I learned it wasn’t – it was who Clayton Gutscher was, a volunteer who just couldn’t say no to a request for his time.

The few I interviewed about Clayton each said the same thing – he was a quiet man who just wanted to ‘get things done’.

And he did.

His list of volunteer work would have easily made him Brockton’s Citizen of the Year in any year. But he probably would have blushed at the much deserving award. That wasn’t why he did it. He just wanted to make a difference.

And he did.

Perhaps my favourite singer, Neil Diamond, was writing about people like Clayton when he wrote “Done Too Soon”.

The song lists about 30 different people down through history – the good and the bad; everyone from Jesus Christ to John Wilkes Booth.

After the names, the music slows as he sings:

“And each one there
Has one thing shared:
They have sweated beneath the same sun,
Looked up in wonder at the same moon,
And wept when it was all done
For bein’ done too soon,
For bein’ done too soon.”

Clayton Gutscher was certainly done too soon.

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