Hunter gives back to young people and the community | The Monday Man

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Lee Hunter has returned to Elizabethtown to be with his family and give back to local youth through football.

He was born in the Haycraft neighborhood of Elizabethtown. He then moved to Louisville, where he was recruited to work at Brown Forman and eventually promoted to full-time business analyst. He has worked there for 11 years.

Hunter said living in Louisville was a different lifestyle that he didn’t particularly like. He also had aging family and he wanted to spend time with them.

Hunter, 37, found himself spending so much time in Elizabethtown that he felt like he was living in E’town and working in Louisville. He went ahead and made this situation a reality and went home.

He did a hybrid job of two days in Louisville and three days working from home, which he was able to start during the pandemic.

During his time at Elizabethtown, Hunter worked as a coach with Elizabethtown Area Youth Football. Later, he helped coach at TK Stone Middle School and now a college football assistant coach at Elizabethtown High School.

“Football has always been my passion,” he said.

Hunter started volunteering when he decided to mentor two of his young parents. They were in the football program and he volunteered to be their coach.

“I gained a sense of belonging there and stayed with the program,” he said.

Hunter has been coaching for seven years.

He followed the same group of players he worked with in the league and grew with them when they made the college team. He said he doesn’t want to coddle them, he just gets used to them and knows how to push them and when to step back because he knows the players and their situations.

Coaching young players is sometimes a challenge, Hunter said. He gave the example of the year the “Fortnite” video game was released. He said all players wanted to do was talk about “Fortnite”.

“I told them if I hear anything else about ‘Fortnite,’ we’ll organize the rest of the practice,” he joked.

Working with young football players taught him patience, Hunter said.

Rochelle Moore said she’s known Hunter all her life, watching him grow into the man he is today.

“He has a love for family and community,” she said. “To see him give back to his community is a positive thing because our young black men often get a bad rap.”

Moore said he was humble and often spoke to her about his humility.

“He doesn’t want the spotlight, but I just think good deeds shouldn’t go unnoticed, and he’s doing good in the neighborhood,” she said.

Hunter’s goal for the players he works with is that they learn to be great teammates and be consistent. It helps teach them discipline that they can use in today’s world, he said.

He wants them to know that they can’t show up one day and get everything you want. You have to work on it.

“Through all of this, I bonded with the kids and ended up adopting a child myself,” he said.

He is now raising a 13-year-old daughter. It’s not something he thought of doing at first, but he wanted to help a kid he was coaching.

Hunter has heard some of the things the child he is now raising has been through. This child was relocated to another county the day before the start of the school year.

Hunter was able to help him continue playing in the Elizabethtown football league. Then the child was then relocated to a county even farther from what he knew.

For the second time in six months, he was taken away from a place he knew, Hunter said.

When another coach called to tell him, Hunter said he couldn’t sleep through the night and couldn’t stop thinking about what the kid was going through.

He was able to contact child protective services and bring him back to Elizabethtown that week to be in their custody. Hunter became his full-time adoptive parent when he completed the training program.

“I wanted him to be back in an environment he was used to, back with friends and be comfortable,” he said. “I want him to reach his full potential out of life, and I don’t think he could have done that in an environment that didn’t suit him.”

He admits that foster care is difficult, but he encourages others to look at their lives and ask what they can offer. If they have the time and the kind of life to nurture, do it, he said.

“The best part about it is seeing the child’s gratitude and joy when they get to be where they’re comfortable,” he said. “Their whole attitude changes.”

Elizabethtown Mayor Jeff Gregory called Hunter a “great young leader” in the community.

“He is a positive influence and role model for our young people,” he said. “Lee is smart, committed, involved, trustworthy and always has a positive attitude.”

Gregory said Hunter goes out every day to make a difference in everything he does with the goal of making those around him a little better.

Gregory recently appointed Hunter to the Code Enforcement Board.

Hunter said he thought he was chosen for the board because he had a way of seeing things from a different perspective.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1416 bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

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