Opinion: My personal memory of our former senior Senator, Orrin Hatch

Apr 25, 2022, 1:51 PM | Updated: Aug 30, 2022, 3:19 pm
Amanda Dickson memory Orrin Hatch...
Photo credit: Amanda Dickson

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — I have a memory of Sen. Orrin Hatch that I wanted to share with you.

Whenever he came by the station, we would hug. That had been our greeting for as far back as I can remember. I suppose a handshake would have been more appropriate, but it wasn’t our way. Sen. Hatch and I were huggers, and that was that.

A cherished memory of Sen. Orrin Hatch

He was always kind to me, from the time I was a rookie at KSL and even before that when I worked for KTALK radio. In fact, when my youngest son Aiden was born with serious health complications and Sen. Hatch learned of his condition, he called me at home over the Christmas holiday. I’ll never forget my husband walking into the bedroom where I was lying, eyes red from crying. Aaron cupped the phone and loud whispered, “It’s Sen. Hatch on the phone!”

“What?” I asked in disbelief, although I had heard him perfectly well.

“It’s. Senator. Hatch. On. The. PHONE!” he repeated while pushing the phone toward me.

I took the phone and answered, “Hello?”

“Amanda. This is Senator Hatch. I understand congratulations are in order.”

“Yes, Senator. How kind of you to call. We have a new son.”

“But I’m told he has a heart condition.”

I told the senator about Aiden’s condition, and he said, “I just want you to know that Aiden and your whole family are in my prayers. If there is ever anything we can do for you, just let me know.”

After we hung up, I cried again. I never got over that this man, one of the most powerful men in the country, took time on a holiday to call me, to express his concern, to include me in his prayers. He set an example for me that I have been inspired by ever since.

Remembering Utah’s senior Senator

So, you’ll understand why I felt a sadness grip my heart when I saw the alert from KSL NewsRadio this weekend that the dear senator had passed away. I felt the weight of his contribution to all of us in Utah and in the United States.

I know there are probably more than a few of you who didn’t agree with him on some of his politics. But what was wonderful about Sen. Hatch is he could disagree with you and still care for and respect you very much. Those weren’t mutually exclusive things with him. His humanity was always clear.

He hosted my husband and older son and daughter, Cameron and Ashley when they traveled to Washington some years ago. They were as mesmerized by his genuine interest in them as have been the thousands of people who have met Sen. Hatch.

He just had a way of being with you when he was with you.

I write of this memory to express my love and respect for Sen. Orrin Hatch,  a man who represented us with dignity and devotion, who I will always remember with gratitude in my heart.

Amanda Dickson is the co-host of Utah’s Morning News on KSL NewsRadio, which can be heard on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. She is also the host of the podcast “A Woman’s View.’

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Opinion: My personal memory of our former senior Senator, Orrin Hatch