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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Shirley Luton and Rick Faucett have a valuable friendship

  • True friends are one of life’s greatest treasures, and that makes Shirley Luton and Rick Faucett two of the richest men in Pittsburg.

    Faucett, an officer in the Pittsburg State University Police for 17 years, guesses that he and Luton have been friends for around 10 years.

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  • True friends are one of life’s greatest treasures, and that makes Shirley Luton and Rick Faucett two of the richest men in Pittsburg.
    Faucett, an officer in the Pittsburg State University Police for 17 years, guesses that he and Luton have been friends for around 10 years.
    “He was always at the PSU games, and at one of them he was telling me that we were going to win,” Faucett said. “I saw him out at Ron’s a few days later and asked him if he was going to the next football game. Shirley said he didn’t  know if he was or not because tickets were expensive. If you work at PSU you get a comp ticket, so I made sure that Shirley got it.”
    “I go to the football games, basketball games and track and field games,” Luton said.
    In 2010, Faucett was leading the PSU Homecoming parade and spotted Luton standing at the corner of 10th and Broadway.
    “I asked him if he wanted to help me lead the parade, and then he got to watch the football game from the track,” Faucett said. “It’s a tradition now. Shirley will help me lead the parade, then watch the game from the track.”
    One of their high points came recently when the Gorillas captured the NCAA Division II national championship. Faucett, his wife, Tracy McMurray-Faucett, and their family, including Luton, attended the game in Florence.
    “Shirley got his photo taken with Coach Beck and the players,” Faucett said.
    “I got to hold the trophy,” Luton said. “It was fun, it was the best day of my life.”
    The family also made a stop in Memphis and paid a visit to Graceland, home of Elvis Presley.
    “It was a good time to visit because it was beautifully decorated for the holidays,” McMurray-Faucett said.
    “Before we went to Florence, the furthest Shirley had been was to Kansas City, Branson and Springfield, Mo.,” Faucett said.
    To make his friend a cherished souvenir of the occasion, he found an old football and asked the coaches and PSU championship team to autograph it. The football, along with Luton’s championship game ticket, are enclosed in a glass case which Faucett and his family presented to Luton when he spent Christmas Eve with them.
    “That’s his prize possession now,” Faucett said.
    “Shirley really brought joy to our family and made our holiday special,” McMurray-Faucett added.
    Luton was born Aug. 12, 1959, in Parsons, a birthday he shares with McMurray-Faucett.
    “We were born the same day, but not the same year,” she said.
    A while back, Faucett was notified that he needed to be present for the awards ceremony of CLASS LTD, an organization providing services for individuals with developmental and other disabilities in Cherokee, Crawford, Labette and Montgomery Counties.
    Page 2 of 2 - He was surprised to learn that he was going to receive the Friends of CLASS LTD Award in recognition of his friendship with Luton.
    “I went, and Shirley presented the award to me,” he said.
    “That was a wonderful night we had,” Luton said.
    But Faucett said that his friendship with Luton has nothing to do with getting awards.
    “Shirley is a great guy and I’d do anything for him,” he said. “But it’s not just me. It started with me giving Shirley a few tickets, but it takes a lot of people to make it all work out. I work for two great bosses, Mike McCracken, director of the University Police and Parking Services, and Lt. T.J. Duncan. Mike helped me get a pass for Shirley.”
    He also praised Jim Johnson, PSU director of intercollegiate athletics, as another good friend to Luton.
    “Once at a game, I think after the Gorillas had scored a touchdown, Shirley and one of Mr. Johnson’s boys were so excited they were doing a dance, then Shirley high-fived the littler boy,” Faucett said. “Mr. Johnson was laughing and he said, ‘The world needs more Shirleys.’”

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