Here’s an uncanny namesake: This elderly couple share the same names as the two powerful hurricanes that we’re mostly all quite familiar with now—Harvey and Irma—which have been wreaking havoc and making headlines. However, in stark contrast with the ferocious hurricanes, these two have hearts of gold, and have fostered over 120 children during their long lives.
Harvey, 104, and Irma Schluter, 92, have been married for 75 years. The couple have witnessed many major events during their lifetimes, such as the Great Depression, Neil Armstrong walking the moon, and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
But never did they imagine that they would be in the news for bearing the same names as the two hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, that have dominated the news after wreaking havoc in the Caribbean and southeastern United States.
Following the hurricanes, however, the elderly couple have been making the news across the world.
“I don’t know how they’ve done that, to have a Harvey and Irma,” Mrs. Schluter told the New York Times.
As a matter of fact, the World Meteorological Organization has been assigning men’s and women’s names for tropical storms formed in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the North Atlantic since 1979. There are six lists of names rotated for usage every six years. That means the 2017 list of names will be repeated again in 2023.
Hurricane names will be retired if the said hurricane caused memorable destruction. Seeing the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, their names won’t appear again in 2023.
However, unlike the massive damages caused by the namesake hurricanes, Mr. and Mrs. Schluter, who tied the knot in 1942, are kind folks with hearts of gold.
Mr. Schluter was a barber and owned a barbershop named Harvey’s shop in the Hillyard suburb of Spokane. Other than being a barber, his most gratifying achievements include playing the banjo and being a foster parent.
Though the couple have two children of their own, they spent most of their lives fostering over 120 children. Most of them were physically or developmentally disabled, according to the Spokesman.
Many of their adoptive children still keep in contact with the two, whom they dearly call “Mom and Dad.”
One of their adopted children, Dona Schluter, said, “They’re the most loving, wonderful, giving people I know.”
The good-hearted couple also hosted Sunday school at First Free Methodist Church.
Mr. and Mrs. Schluter, who have never been through a major hurricane, were sad to see their names on TV screens, with news of flooding, death, and evacuations.
“I have no idea what I’d do; I’ve never been in that kind of a situation,” Mrs. Schluter told the New York Times.
Nonetheless, Mrs. Schluter offered her heartfelt advice, “If you can help someone, then help them.”