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Kearns woman keeps alive family's service tradition

Published December 21, 2012 3:11 pm

Valiant volunteer • She learned it from her mom and is teaching it to her kids.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As a child, Chrystal Butterfield remembers her mother helping out the neighbors ­— in secret.

She'd buy gifts and make blankets, but she wouldn't take credit.

"She would have us leave it on the porch and run," Butterfield recalled, laughing at the memory.

It's a recollection that brings a lighthearted smile to Butterfield's face now, but it was part of what inspired her to a lifetime of service.

The Kearns woman, now 40, stuffs stockings for soldiers, heads a free chaplain service, is working to start a Kearns community garden, volunteers at senior centers and serves on several community boards and councils — and that's just in her free time.

She also works full time for a cemetery and mortuary and has three teenagers. Relaxing at home is not part of her repertoire.

"I have no idea how she fits it all in along with raising really great kids," said Sheryl Ivey, director of volunteer services for Salt Lake County, noting that whenever she needs help, Butterfield is always willing and ready. "She isn't just there on paper. She's there."

Like her mother, Butterfield has inspired her teens to help out as well. They often volunteer alongside her.

"They know what it means to go out and serve your community," Butterfield said. "I think that's what it's all about, is making sure your neighbors are taken care of. There's so many other people out there other than yourself that are struggling and if you put your resources together, just think how much better life would be for everybody."

Butterfield ardently believes that one altruistic act can spark a chain reaction of kindness.

It's something of which she's reminded when she sees drivers helping to change a fellow motorist's flat tires, neighbors shoveling walkways, or even in her own life — such as the time a stranger filled her tank when she forgot to bring cash to the gas station.

"It doesn't have to be because it's a holiday," Butterfield said. "It's just because somebody wants to."

Lisa Schencker