Mitt Romney has asked Kenneth Hutchins, a Mormon colleague and a retired Massachusetts police chief, to give the invocation on the final day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Hutchins, born and raised in Walpole, Mass., served as a counselor to Romney when Romney was an LDS stake president in Boston.
When Romney ran for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, Hutchins succeeded Romney as president of the Boston Massachusetts Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served until 2003, when he was called to be a mission president for the LDS Church in Tampa, Florida. His service as a stake president coincided with his stint as chief of the Northborough Police Department, a post he held from 1980 to 2003.
Hutchins, 71 and retired, is battling cancer and just completed a round of chemotherapy. He had not been out of his pajamas for three days when he received a call at home from Mitt's son, Tagg, on Monday morning.
"What are you doing right now?" Tagg asked.
"I'm not feeling very well," Hutchins told him. "But I'm cheered up hearing your voice."
"I'm going to cheer you up even more," Tagg Romney said, "because my dad would like you to give the opening prayer on the closing night of the convention down in Tampa."
Hutchins was stunned. Tagg Romney told him that Catholics, Muslims and various other faiths at the convention would offer prayers and his father also wanted Mormon prayer. He specifically asked for Ken.
In an exclusive interview today, Hutchins said he is feeling stronger and looking forward to being in Tampa. "This is an honor," he said.