Sgt. Jonathon Hunter’s Family Honored at Indianapolis Colts Season Finale

Sunday’s final game for the Indianapolis Colts was a bittersweet ending to an overall disappointing season. As the clock hit zero with a win over the Houston Texans, fans left Lucas Oil Stadium more focused on how cold it was outside rather than the hopes of Andrew Luck returning or the opportunity of having a top three pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. For my family though and several other Columbus residents, the most meaningful part of the game occurred outside of the actual game.

US Army Sgt. Jonathon Hunter, 23, of Columbus, killed August 2nd in an attack in southern Afghanistan has most deservedly been honored in many ways since his ultimate sacrifice by our city. Known by the Orange and Brown’s faithful, the former Olympian football player and 2011 graduate once ran for a touchdown at Lucas Oil Stadium in a 48–13 win for the O’s over Greenwood’s Woodmen in the 2010 PeyBack Classic. However, Sunday featured four other Hunters on the Colts’ home turf who received a standing ovation.

Mark Hunter, joined by his brother Kenny, son Marcus, and daughter-in-law Whitney received a special honor as he was honored by the Indianapolis Colts as the game’s Horseshoe Hero. Announced at each home game, Colts fans are selected for community service, displays of courage, and perseverance through difficult challenges. Hunter, his son, and family have shown all three.

Mark Hunter has been on a mission since his son’s passing to keep Jonathon’s memory alive by establishing a scholarship fund in his honor through Heritage Fund-The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County. If you would like to make a donation to the Sgt. Jonathan Michael Hunter Legacy Scholarship Fund, visit www.heritagefundbc.org/donate. In order to reach his goal of having an annual scholarship in his son’s name, $15,000 is required for this scholarship to be sustainable each year.

As I watched the Indianapolis Colts play yesterday, I thought to myself: “I probably won’t remember much of today’s game. Not much offense that will be featured on Sportscenter. Sure, Frank Gore passed 14,000 yards rushing. Jack Doyle had a great season and should have been on the Pro Bowl (even though as a former Olympian I will always have a half-distaste for the guy since he went to Cathedral and kept us from winning a few more championships). Yes, we saw Pagano’s last game which will hopefully lead to a new regime that will lead us back to winning. But what I will remember most from Sunday’s game was a minute where a young man and his family were honored. A young man who accepted a call he didn’t have to take, who served his country proudly and didn’t expect any accolades or awards, and gave his life so we could all continue to enjoy freedom.”

Thank you Sgt. Hunter for serving our country and thank you Hunter family for continuing his legacy. Columbus is thankful to have you all as part of this community!

Josh Burnett is CEO and Co-Founder of JAB Media Group, a social-digital media agency committed to telling stories where people are paying the most attention each day. He also hosts a weekly Facebook show called “Celebrate Columbus.” You can find out more about him and JAB Media Group by visiting www.jabmediagroup.com.