09.16.16

Daines Honors Montanan of the Week: Bruce Dutton of Garfield County

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today recognized Bruce Dutton of Garfield County for his life of service, his contributions to Montana’s agriculture community and the celebration of his 100th birthday.

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Daines’ recognition in the Congressional Record is available here.

Through his “Montanan of the Week” initiative, Daines each week will highlight a Montanan by submitting a statement of recognition in the official Congressional Record, the document that reflects the official proceedings of Congress.

Daines welcomes anyone to nominate fellow Montanans for Daines’ “Montanan of the Week” program by calling Daines’ office at 202-224-2651 or by filling out the contact form on Daines’ website: http://www.daines.senate.gov/connect/email-steve.

The following is the statement submitted to the Congressional Record:

MONTANAN OF THE WEEK

       Mr. DAINES, Mr. President, “This week, I have the distinct honor of recognizing Bruce Dutton of Garfield County, who celebrated his 100th birthday in August this year. He is a Montanan and a veteran who served his country during World War II and a sheep rancher. Montana has a long history of strong work ethic and dedication to service and Mr. Dutton exemplifies these qualities.

When Bruce was born 100 years ago, homesteaders were settling homes and setting up communities across Montana, carving out a living from the land. His parents, Bruce and Margaret had a family homestead between Mosby and Sand Springs, MT. When Bruce’s mother, Margaret, felt it was nearing time for her to give birth, she traveled over 20 miles to Mrs. McDougal’s neighboring homestead for help. Mrs. McDougal provided her dugout for Margaret where she gave birth to Bruce, the third of seven children.

            Bruce did not lack for education on the homestead. The Dutton family even provided boarding for teachers who traveled from as far as Idaho to serve the local school. When a proper teacher was not available, a local high school graduate would fill in. After eighth grade, he took a break from school to help on the family ranch, but was still able to learn algebra. When he returned to school, Bruce traveled over 200 miles to stay with an aunt and uncle in Great Falls for high school but returned closer to home to finish school while ranching sheep.

     On July 25, 1942, Bruce traveled over 300 miles to Butte, Montana to enlist in the Army where he served a variety of duties. While training in Texas, Bruce worked for a local rancher bucking hay on the weekends. As the end of his duty approached, Bruce wrote his father asking if he was needed at home. If he was needed at home, he wanted his father to know he could elect to terminate his service early. His father did, in fact, call him home, and Bruce forfeited $75.00 of separation pay to terminate his military service early and return to Montana.

        With a $2,000 bank loan to buy sheep, Bruce committed to his own sheep business with his brother, Joe. His persistence and hard work continued to pay off when – as he says, through pure determination – he convinced Daisy, a teacher in Winnett to marry him and devoted his life to his family, the community and the work of lambing, docking, and sheering sheep.

Today, his legacy is the present day Cat Creek Cattle Company Ranch near Cat Creek. Bruce and Daisy raised two children, continued to be involved in the community serving as Garfield County Commissioner, working on the Weede State Grazing District Board, and the Sage Hen Grazing District Board, as a Mason and a Shriner.

        Now on his 100th year, Bruce is part of a generation of Montanans who have witnessed incredible advancements in our state and our nation. From the homestead dugout near Melstone, to his military service, a man on the moon, we owe much to his generation.” 

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