10 Jan Hauʻoli lā Hānau, Tutu Bert!
The angel number 101 signifies your spiritual awakening. It represents hard work, optimism, hope, and bravery. Roberta DuTeil, or as we know her best ‘Tutu Bert,’ turns 101 years young today, January 10th, 2023! An incredible milestone for an incredible person and family. Even after relocating to the U.S. Mainland in 1993, Tutu Bert has continued to serve IHS as an advisory member on our Board of Directors. Many of her children and grandchildren have continued to be active supporters of our mission.
If the name “Tutu Bert” is familiar, that’s because our medical respite homes are named in her honor. In these homes, individuals can reside temporarily while they rest and recover upon release from the hospital after a major medical procedure, or while undergoing treatment for a chronic or acute condition. We partner with local hospitals and health insurers to ensure their patients have a safe place to recover, away from the inhospitable streets. Our hope is that they will never return to the streets – instead they will move directly into stable housing.
Over the past year, the Tutu Bert’s homes have been evolving to also be used as bridge housing for seniors who find themselves homeless for the first time. The Tutu Bert’s homes are able to provide a gentler transition for seniors who are suddenly without a home. IHS provided safe shelter to over 250 houseless kupuna last year. It can be emotionally traumatic for seniors who experience homelessness for the first time. The Tutu Bert homes, situated in residential neighborhoods, are arranged like family homes with shared kitchens and dining rooms to enjoy meals together like a family. They can help ease the transition to a new housing situation and provide the individuals more time to find a more permanent housing solution.
Tutu Bert has always embodied warmth and care. She worked behind the scenes to support IHS and its bold mission. She could be found in the kitchen making meals, taking care of guests, volunteers, and staff, doing whatever was needed to keep the mission running, and providing a safe space for those in need. Both Fr. Claude and Tutu Bert believed in second chances and tending to the mental, physical, and spiritual health of all who found their way to IHS.
After Fr. Claude was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, Tutu Bert took on more responsibilities, including chauffeur and working even more in tandem with her best friend, Fr. Claude. Tutu Bert became famous for driving clients to doctor appointments and ensuring they followed up with their medical care.
Tutu Bert is no doubt a symbol of the spiritual number of 101 – hard work, optimism, hope and bravery. We celebrate her everyday. The IHS ohana sends our love to you, Tutu! You are an inspiration and amazing model of compassion and care. Happy 101st birthday!