19 Years And Counting: Friends Turned Into Family

TOPEKA, Kansas (WIBW) -- This story is proof that the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program has a big impact on the community's youth.

This friendship, 19 years and counting, not only changed the course of one 10-year-old boy's life, but picked up one man when he was at his lowest.

Three years ago 13 News first met up with two buddies enjoying a game of pool, just hanging out.

Tim Hrenchir and Kenny Kutina still do that today, but their friendship goes way deeper than just three years.

"We've gotten together at least every other week over the past 19 years," Kenny said. "It started out him being a great father figure, and he still is a great father figure, and now we're just best friends."

Hitting it off from the start, the two were paired up when Kenny was 10 through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. Both guys remember the day they met like it was yesterday.

"Kenny liked all the same things I did," Tim recalls. "He loved football, he loved rock music, Guns N' Roses, and I'm like, yeah, this is a kid I'd be willing to kick it with. And so when I picked Kenny out as a Little, we liked to play pool, we liked to go eat, we liked to go to the movies. That was a fun thing, but also I got the sense that I was playing a positive role model in somebody's life."

Kenny, coming from a broken home, and Tim, going through the toughest time in his life -- they needed each other.

"I felt I needed to do something to give back to the world, make the world a better place," Tim said.

Kenny says their friendship is one of the best things to ever happen to him.

"It was great to have an extra friend and family member to help me through any obstacle I went through in life. Tim was always there for me. He took it very seriously and I appreciate all that," Kenny said.

Kenny said he finds himself emulating some of Tim's characteristics. After spending so much time together over almost 20 years, one could only imagine they'd start picking up some of the same habits. .

"Patience. I'm not a very patient person, and Tim is," Kenny laughed. "He's one of the most patient people I've ever met. I think that's one thing I've really picked up from Tim. Even working with my employees at the store now, I see a lot of Tim coming out in some of the ways I act."

From the start, they both shared the same interests, and the same values.

"Tim always questions morals and values and we carry a lot of the same values and beliefs. Every time I'm in a situation where my conscience talks to me, it's kind of like Tim talking to me too."

Tim and Kenny have been through many milestones over the last 10 years, whether it's going to Chiefs v. Broncos games (Tim is an avid Chiefs fan, whereas Kenny roots for the Broncos), or Tim standing as Kenny's best man at his wedding (Kenny said Tim knocked everyone dead with his speech), being godfather to Kenny's son, or seeing Kenny open up his own business.

"There's a great sense of relief. I can sit back and say, Yeah, he turned out okay. I think when a kid has more people around, more support, more people on his team, they'll turn out better," Tim said.

"I know I wouldn't be the person I am today if it wasn't for Big Brothers, Big Sisters," Kenny said. "Just being there and being a friend for a kid, even if it's just for a year or two, that can help a kid's life out a great deal."

They say they've got the best of both worlds, a father-son relationship, and brotherly love as well.

Now they look forward to the next 19 years.

If you want to make a difference in a kid's life, just call Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Topeka at (785) 234-5527.


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