Everyone Has a Story to Tell
Updated: Jul 11, 2018
Everyone has a story of course, but Michelle and Erik Hutchinson’s is extra moving. Their tale reminds us that with challenge comes opportunity - and when you use your own adversity to help others, you can truly make an impact.
Both locals - Michelle graduated from Rhinebeck HS (1997, maiden name Tozzi), and Erik from Stissing Mountain Jr/Sr HS - the couple met as teens through mutual friends. Over a decade later, their friendship turned to romance.
Michelle shared, “full disclosure is that our love story is not traditional, but it suits us and we are proud of it. Erik and I had been friends for many years, involved in other long-term relationships for the duration of our friendship, but found ourselves single at the same time. I had not thought anything of it, but he had been texting me for a period of time, and now I believe he was laying the framework for something more. After 2 months of intermittent contact, I mentioned I was heading to Rhinebeck for the weekend (from Westchester County), so he asked if I would join him at a friend’s birthday. Coincidentally, I was obligated to my sister’s birthday that night, so I politely declined. Later that evening, I found him at the same place he knew I would be. He managed to rally his friends into going there, and his persistence paid off. After that, we started seeing each other every weekend. Things progressed naturally and quickly. With a foundation of friendship, we had a mutual respect and trust in one another from the very beginning.”
Less than a year into the relationship, Michelle unexpectedly became pregnant with Ella, “a wonderful surprise,” as she said. “Our family and friends shared in our joy; everything was as it was meant to be. There was no pressure to get married before her arrival, so we did not. She was born in September of 2011, and on the morning of my first Mother’s Day (May 2012), Erik proposed to me with a ring in one hand and Ella in the other.”
Michelle, a graduate of Pace and competitive soccer player, worked in the Pace Athletics Department for 10 years before the couple began their romance. Today, she works part-time for Crown LP Gas, the company Erik’s grandfather launched (now run by Erik, who knew from the time he was 13 that he wanted to take over the business, and studied Heating, Air Conditioning, and Gas Technology at New England Tech to prepare). By 2013, Erik and his father purchased Dutchess Oil and Propane, now Crown Energy, and offer propane, fuel oil, diesel, and gasoline delivery/service.
The job they clearly love the most, of course, is raising their children: Ella, who turns 6 in September, and Colton, age 3.