Nov. 17, 2008
An Arizona Realtor is receiving an honor for launching a nonprofit group that has helped establish new lives for hundreds of ‘Lost Boys,’ the young men who fled Sudan during that nation’s civil war in the 1980s.
Reita Hutson, a sales agent with John Hall and Associates in Scottsdale, founded Gabriel’s Dream Inc., a nonprofit that locates medical help and educational funds for the Lost Boys. She is one of six winners across the United States chosen by the National Association of Realtors to receive Realtor Magazine’s “Good Neighbor Award.”
“Realtors play an important leadership role in building strong communities and Reita serves as a fine example to our entire association,” says Arizona Association of Realtors President John Gall.
Hutson named the nonprofit organization after Gabriel Kuany, a young Sudanese man she met in a supermarket in 2002. She asked what she could do to help him, and he said he wants an education and new teeth.
She helped Kuany locate a dentist who agreed to provide free dental implants to replace Kuany’s six lower teeth. They were pulled during Kuany’s initiation into manhood.
When other Lost Boys saw Kuany’s new teeth, they asked him and Hutson for their own dental work, according to a press release about the awards.
“I saw the hell these young men went through,” Hutson said. “Many saw family murdered, shot at in a river where the water turned red from blood, or eaten by lions. Yet, they had the joy of the Lord on their faces and were excited about their new lives.”
Hutson, 71, as executive director of Gabriel’s Dream, has recruited more than 100 dentists to volunteer more than $1 million in dental care since 2002. And since 2007, she has donated $12,500 and volunteered 2,500 hours to the organization.
She also has awarded $70,000 in college scholarships and provided thousands of emergency dollars to help about 400 of the men in Arizona find apartments and jobs.
In 2007, Kuany became an American citizen. He and other Lost Boys are working with Hutson to raise funds to build a school in Sudan.
More details about Hutson, and information about the other Good Neighbor winners, are available at www.realtor.org/realtormag.
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