Meet Bill and Sandy Luttrell

Categories: 40 Stories for 40 Years

Reflections by Bill & Sandy Luttrell

Our Story with Ronald McDonald House

In November 1994, we moved from Chesterfield, MO to Gulf Breeze, FL (which is just over the Bay Bridge from Pensacola, FL.) We made the move to be close to our son (David Luttrell) and his family who were expecting their first child and to pursue our love of sailing.

On October 6, 1995, our first grandchild was born; a boy, Kyle Markham Luttrell. At 4 months old, Kyle was diagnosed with a heart defect and airlifted from Pensacola to Children’s Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia for emergency heart surgery. David and his wife Julie were unable to fly with Kyle, and these new first-time parents flew separately on a commercial flight directly from the hospital. They had nothing with them for what would be an extended stay in terms of personal items, just the clothes on their backs.

It was arranged for them to stay at the Ronald McDonald House at Children’s Hospital where for over 2 weeks they slept, were fed, provided clothes to wear, and even emotional and spiritual support as they spent day and night by their young son’s side. RMH stepped into caring for our family when our immediate family could not be there physically.

Kyle, is now 25 years old, healthy, and has been happily married for almost 2 years.

Now begins the “love affair” that Bill and I have with the RMHC. We as a family have had such a debt of gratitude for the love and care that was extended to our son and his family that we knew it was God’s intent that we give back. In 1996, Bill and I began volunteering at the RMH in Pensacola, FL which is within walking distance of the hospital.

The House only had 6 bedrooms for families and included the offices for RMH. The staff was very limited in maintaining the facility for the families that were staying, so we began volunteering our time every week. Bill became the “handyman” fixing miscellaneous items and doing small projects. I cooked and cleaned, and the guest families kept their own rooms clean, however, there was still the rest of the house thi3tneeded constant upkeep and cleaning (dining areas, lounge, bathrooms, and offices). We were honored to be able to contribute our time to these families and found a special joy serving the many military families from Pensacola Naval Station and Egin Air Base stayed at RMH while their children were receiving medical care. For 9 years we joyfully served RMH, and eventually, Bill served on the RMH Board, as did our son David Luttrell.

In November 2005, we moved back to the St. Louis Area where we now live, in Lake St. Louis, MO. Once moved and settled, in the Spring of 2006, we once again committed our time to volunteer with the Ronald McDonald House at Mercy Hospital in St Louis, MO. We worked weekly at the Ronald McDonald Room within the hospital, cleaning, helping with laundry, and serving meals to the families with children down the hall. We also helped with special events and fundraisers like the Annual Golf Tournament.

It was a joy to work with such fine individuals like Dan and Judy. In November 2019, being in our 80s now, we began volunteering twice a month instead of weekly. And decided at the end of 2019 to retire from RMH.

So, completed 22 years of service with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of St. Louis. We will always be grateful for the opportunity to service other families in their time of distress as their children are struggling. Mostly we have been honored to give back to an organization that serviced our family when we needed it most!