Thomas B. Hutchinson Jr. Contributed photo.

Thomas B. Hutchinson Jr. Contributed photo.

Bill Van Hoose lost his stepson and best friend, Tommy Hutchinson, on July 16, 2023. One of the small comforts to him in that time has been when people contact him and tell him how much Hutchinson had helped them.

“We don’t even know these people,” Van Hoose said. “We had no clue he was even doing that. He struggled with depression himself. Knowing that he was standing in other people’s corners dealing with it himself says what kind of person he is.”

Van Hoose and other members of Hutchinson’s family are carrying on Hutchinson’s spirit of selfless helping with the Warriors for Tommy Fund, a nonprofit foundation set up through the Community Foundation of Western PA and Eastern OH that provides financial assistance for funerals and related expenses to families who have lost loved ones but had not set aside funds in the event of an early death.

“We had to raise money for his funeral and his headstone,” Van Hoose said. “It’s just something God put on my heart to do. How many people in this world struggle with that? Lose a child and ain’t prepared for that. There aren’t many families that are built for that these days.”

The Warriors for Tommy Fund will hold its second fundraiser, “Warriors Against Drunk Driving,” a concert with the Hern Brothers Band, Haymaker, the Scenic Route and Sid Lucid, at 4 p.m. July 13 at Yankee Lake Ballroom. There also will be raffles for cash and prizes.

“This show’s a big one,” Van Hoose said.

Hutchinson, 26, of Masury, was killed in a two-car crash on Warren Sharon Road east of Yankee Run Road/Brookfield Avenue. The driver of the other car, who also was killed, Rajshun Mayberry, 29, of Masury, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.198, more than twice the legal limit. Mayberry also had marijuana in his system.

“It’s not only his (Hutchinson’s) life we’re honoring,” Van Hoose said. “It’s every life taken by a drunk driver, impaired driver. A lot of lives got lost because of it. It’s probably one of the most selfish, senseless acts that a person can do. We’re gonna honor a bunch of people that night.”

Van Hoose said he has been contacted by a woman from North Carolina who lost her husband, daughter and son-in-law in an alcohol-related crash. She plans to attend the concert, he said.

“Tommy was the center of our life,” said Van Hoose, who is married to Hutchinson’s mom, Pam Van Hoose. “He was the glue that held this family together.”

Although Van Hoose is angry that his stepson is gone, working for the foundation “Keeps me busy,” he said. “That’s helping me with my grief for Tommy, just putting all my energy into this foundation.”

Tickets for the show can be obtained through Van Hoose at 724-977-0901 or Tickets also will be sold at the door.

Donations to the foundation can be made at any time through the Community Foundation at

@ @ @
Please help support NEWS On the Green’s work:
Click here: