Kirk Butterfield a Champion of the Disadvantaged

The United States required a congressional passing of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 in order to ensure that special provisions were applied to disadvantaged students, the late Kirk Butterfield needed no such law to encourage him to give aid to disenfranchised youth.

As the programme C.A.R.E Learning Centre’s programme director Butterfield was at once charismatic, fair, hands-on, with a loving devotion to all pupils enrolled at the Mount Hill institution he had overseen since 2017, when his mother, a former Progressive Labour Party (PLP) Minister and C.A.R.E. founder the Hon. Neletha [Honey] Butterfield retired from day to day operations.
Ms Butterfield was on the verge of bequeathing the entire operation to her son, when he was killed early Monday morning in a motorcycle crash on Cavendish Road in Devonshire, just east of the junction with Shelton Road, becoming Bermuda’s twelfth road fatality for the year.

“Kirk was an instructor for the GED Programme and was also in charge of summer camps and the After School Tutorial Programme,” explained his mother. “I was looking forward, on our 40th anniversary, to passing the torch in its entirety to him. “When I told him he said jokingly, ‘Don’t leave yet.’ I replied, ‘Kirk you have shown over and over that you got this.’”

A standout defender on the football pitch, Kirk represented Bermuda as a member of the Under-19 national team and also commanded a regular position for Dandy Town, just a stones throw from his Pembroke Park residence.
However, he truly found his calling as a helpful guide for children who needed direction, after all Kirk had his own flaws and had been through not dissimilar travails as many of those under his charge.

He knew the game and its pitfalls and was determined to make sure others did not have to make the same mistakes he may have made, but to learn through his experiences, have their diminished self-esteem restored in order that they might flourish in the face of those that discarded them.

Kirk’s impact on children was massive and can yet be felt through the words many wrote about him and his mother and presented during graduation ceremonies.

“I’m thankful to C.A.R.E. because you helped me achieve a wonderful goal, which is my GED,” wrote C.A.R.E. graduate Laje Franklin. “I’m thankful for the staff and my teacher, Mr Butterfield, for helping me finish through.”

Kaiyah Daniels wrote: My experience at C.A.R.E, was a great one. “I would like to thank Mr Butterfield and the Hon. Neletha Butterfield, M.B.E., JP, who always made sure my work was done. I struggled with my math the most, but with Mr Butterfield’s help, today I am proud to say I started at Bermuda College in September of 2019, and I am currently working towards a degree in mechanics.”

Another, Xavi James, wrote: “This has honestly been an uphill battle for me! I had to switch school, figure out what I wanted to do and deal with everything else I had going on being in High School.
“at Berkeley Institute I struggled a lot with staying focussed, there were lots of distractions. I don’t know that without my support system I would not be here today.

“I used to be fearful that this day would never happen. When I came to the school;, having left all my friend, I did not know what to expect. The staff made me feel comfortable from day one, especially Mr Butterfield, who nicknamed me ‘pretty boy, and cracked jokes on me and Mrs Butterfield, who was kind and extremely patient with me and somehow became my favourite.

“Thank you for believing in me and for making me believe in myself.”

Also telling the story of the man were the tears of his god-daughter, Treasure Lindsay, who was inconsolable, upon hearing of his tragic passing. “My Godpa B, made me feel so special, I would walk across Boyle’s shoe store and he would shout out “Babygirl” come here give me my hug, that was my Godpa and I’m so grateful for his love towards me.”

We also understand, it was not only the youth that were infected by the goodness of Kirk, at W.J. Boyle and Son on Queen Street and the upstairs department facing Church Street will never be the same, as Kirk was an MVP staff member, bringing joy, humour, enthusiasm and tons of energy to his alternate place of employment.

The TNN family is particularly touched as the relationship between us was never about business, it was and will always be personal and so we grieve as a collective.

Again we give our condolences to Mom Honey and family, you did an amazing job in raising Kirk, his overwhelming effect was positive to those in most need and with that he sleeps in honour.

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