UPDATED WITH AUDIO: Butch Hubble remembered by the community he loved

The City of Hamilton and the Great Miami Valley YMCA hosted a tribute to Butch Hubble today at the Booker T. Washington Community Center. Butch was a marvelously humble and hard-working individual who cared a lot for this community. His effort and his genial personality will be missed by all who knew him. Below is an audio recording of the event, and below that , a reprint of a profile I wrote for the Journal-News in April, 2013, when Butch was honored with the Janet Clemmons Award. –Richard O Jones


Hamilton Community Council leader honored for work
Butch Hubble earns 2013 Clemmons Award

After two careers, one in the U.S. Navy and a second in the San Diego Police Department, Butch Hubble thought it might be a good idea to come back to his hometown so he could “watch the grass grow and play golf with my buddies.”

Butch Hubble, director of the Booker T. Washington Community Center and Robert Hendricks, program director.

He came back home, but resting and golf were not as much on the agenda as he had planned, much to the benefit of the city.

At first, he lived in the family home on Hanover Street on the city’s East Side.

“I saw that there were so many things that needed to be done, that needed to be addressed,” he said. “When I left (in 1962), Hamilton was one of the leading industrial cities in the world. Now much of the community is waiting on government assistance to survive and there’s just something wrong with that practice.”

2014 1215 061413-btw-reopen1
Chris Lindeman, executive director for the Hamilton Central YMCA: Robert Hendricks, program director for the Booker T. Washington Community Center; Karen Staley, chief operating officer of the Great Miami Valley YMCA; and Butch Hubble, center director of the Booker T. Washington Community Center, talk about changes at the Booker T. Washington Community Center, which reopens June 17 after two months of renovations. Photo by Greg Lynch/JournalNews

So with a core group of like-minded individuals, Hubble founded the Hamilton Community Council in 2004.

For his leadership of the council, Hubble has received SELF’s 2013 Janet Clemmons Community Service Award, selected by a committee of former and current SELF board members for the award.

“Butch is a special individual who cares about others and making a difference in their lives and in his community,” said nominator Nancy Wiley, a member of the Hamilton Vision Commission.

“Butch ‘Humble Hubble’ is the definition of the Janet Clemmons mission,” said Tina Jones, a member of the Hamilton Community Council, who also nominated him for the honor.

2014 1215 butch video
Click on the image to see a video of Butch Hubble being interviewed by Shaun Higgins as part of Miami Hamilton’s “What’s Your Story” series.

Hubble said the council is purely a “grass-roots group” that tries to serve the community, but not by giving people money.

“We don’t want people coming to us for the wrong reasons,” he said. “If you’re not there to give and make sure that your friends are doing as well as you are, then you’re not part of the Hamilton Community Council.”

“I can’t handle America’s attraction to negativity, so what we try to do is dwell on the positive,” he said. “We want to bring smiles and happiness to the community.”

Jeffrey Diver, executive director of SELF (Supports to Encourage Low-Income Families), said that he first met Hubble while doing some community organizing work in the Second Ward.

“We spent a lot of time together and I found that we are kindred spirits,” Diver said, “people who have the ability to make change in their own communities.

“For the Janet Clemmons Award, each year we ask the community for nominations for individuals who have gone above and beyond to help low-income families, especially volunteers like Butch,” he said. “Janet helped found our organization and so many others that have had a real impact on the community.”

One of the first projects for Hubble and the Hamilton Community Council was the “Rock the Block” summer concert events at Bailey Square and Symmes Park, open mic events that drew hundreds of people.

“We never had one negative incident,” he said.

The Council has also been heavily involved in the CLEEN program (Comprehensive Litter Education and Enforcement Now), similar to a program he stared as a police officer in San Diego, using grant money to put off-duty undercover police on the street to write tickets for littering and dumping.

“If you clean your community, you increase community pride, crime goes down, businesses will grow, people will be happier and talk about the city in a positive way,” he said. “This is a tested concept and I saw it work in San Diego.”

“I reflect back on what my grandmother told me: If you clean your house, the roaches will go away,” Hubble said.

Photo by Nick Daggy/JournalNews.

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