For Tim Sutton, a very special birthday gift
Ever since Tim Sutton was a child, he has been enamored of anything that had to do with the classic 1939 musical, The Wizard of Oz. Last week, with a little help from his friends, he was honored with a very special viewing of a film he simply can’t get enough of.
“He’s watched it at least six hundred times,” says Jackie Church of Tim, her younger brother who has Down syndrome and lives with Church and her husband, Gary, in their Jarvisburg home. There, Sutton’s bedroom is filled with an eclectic collection of The Wizard of Oz memorabilia — from posters and pillows to dozens of books, DVDs, a stuffed Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man, just to name a few.
To celebrate Tim’s 60th birthday, he was treated to the film again on Jan. 28, this time on the big screen at the R/C Kill Devil Hills Movies 10 during an exclusive lights-on viewing. He was joined by family and more than several dozen friends from the Monarch Lighthouse Club and Kitty Hawk United Methodist Church, where he is a member.
Monarch Lighthouse Club is part of Monarch, a statewide organization that provides services and support to children and adults with individual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance use disorders.
Church said organizers arranged for the lights to stay on during the movie because Tim is afraid of the dark. The private viewing came just a day after the film’s 80th anniversary sold-out showing at the Kill Devil Hills theater.
“What a great day,” Church declared after the movie, noting that Tim enjoyed singing along with every song and reciting the words of the movie in concert with the actors.
The event was coordinated through the efforts of the Kitty Hawk United Methodist Church congregation, Interfaith Community Outreach and the R/C theatre. Movie theater manager Russ Blair presented Tim with a movie poster to celebrate his birthday.
Elaine Reed, a member of Tim’s church, led the effort to raise roughly $600 in donations from the church congregation to secure the facility and party snacks, while ICO acted as liaison with the theater and helped with the birthday festivities following the film.
Kitty Hawk United Methodist Pastor Colin Snider was at the filming to celebrate with Tim, whom he said he has developed a close kinship with over the years. “We hope this birthday gift is an assurance to Tim there is a community that loves and cares about him,” said Snider. “Hopefully that is what he is feeling today.”
As to when exactly Tim’s love for The Wizard of Oz began, Church said she couldn’t put a time on it. “Ever since I can remember, it’s always been one of his favorites,” she said. “He’s been collecting the books ever since he was a little guy.”