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TEXAS NASW AWARD Public Citizen of the Year: Petty Hunter

By Floyd Miller



West Central TexasMr. Hunter has made a significant contribution to the Abilene community as he works tirelessly to improve the quality of life in our community. He has spearheaded positive social change in the areas of education, civic duty, economic and community development, and elder care. Mr. Hunter is a native Abilenian, having earned “celebrity” status in this community when after being a part of the first racially integrated class at Abilene High, he was the first African American to letter in football. This has made him a legend in football-crazed West Texas! After high school, Mr. Hunter played football at North Texas State University, and later attended Texas Southern University where he earned a degree in Physical Education. Mr. Hunter had an illustrious 30 year career with the City of Houston, where he retired as the Deputy Director of Recreation. Upon his retirement in 2001, Mr. Hunter returned to Abilene. Since returning to Abilene, Mr. Hunter has exemplified numerous acts of courage.{{more}} He has challenged the status quo in this community. As the President of the Abilene Chapter of the NAACP, Mr. Hunter is often called upon by leaders of this community to assist them in addressing social conditions, such as closing the gap on academic achievement in the local school district, and strategies to address school drop out rates. Mr. Hunter’s advocacy on behalf of school children has resulted in the creation of Abilene Independent School District ’s Closing the Gap committee. This committee monitors various social and academic indicators to assess academic achievement, and then makes recommendations to the school district’s administration to address each assessed indicator. Mr. Hunter’s leadership on this committee has resulted in AISD seeking funding for the hiring of the district’s first school social workers beginning Fall 2010. Mr. Hunter’s expertise is often sought by local leaders and law enforcement to address tough social issues involving oppressive policies.Mr. Hunter displays outstanding leadership in his many roles in the community. He has used his gentle persuasion to land large grants that will improve the blighted neighborhoods of the Abilene area. Mr. Hunter is often referred to as the “King of Abilene” because he wears so many leadership hats. As mentioned earlier, he is President of the local NAACP but is also Executive Director of the Neighborhoods In Progress community development organization, Treasurer of Interested Citizens of Abilene North, Board member of the Black Chamber of Commerce, Board member of Community Foundation of Abilene and sits on numerous other committees.Mr. Hunter exemplifies social work values and ethics. He understands the concept of service to one’s community. This is demonstrated in his advocacy efforts in the community. Mr. Hunter is often seen in several “developing communities” with a lawn mower and gardening supplies. He is often seen on the weekends with local college students knocking on doors of community members to assess needs of community. Mr. Hunter often spearheads these efforts with a group of area teens known as the Carver Teens. The Carver community is a historically blighted community that is now a “developing community”, in that it is undergoing major development at the grassroots level. One accomplishment of the Carver Teens, under the tutelage of Mr. Hunter, is that these teens are credited for ridding the community of the drug trade by posting signs in strategic locations in the neighborhood identifying that area as a “Drug Free Zone”. Mr. Hunter advocates for social justice. This is evident in his community work. He understands the importance of upholding the dignity and worth of every person he encounters. This is most evident in the way that he treats everyone he encounters regardless of their social status.Petty Hunter inspires community action!Nominated by Tanya Brice.

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