East Wall of Fame to honor Hunter

The Columbus East Alumni Association will honor the late U.S. Army Sgt. Jonathon M. Hunter by adding him to the high school’s Alumni Wall of Fame.

Hunter, 23, of Columbus, was killed Aug. 2 in an attack on a NATO convoy near the southern Afghanistan city of Kandahar. He was a 2011 graduate of Columbus East High School.

He died 16 months after entering the Army, with his first deployment — to Afghanistan — beginning July 1 of this year.

Hunter will be the sole inductee in the fifth Alumni Wall of Fame class, said Chuck Wells, president of the Columbus East Alumni Association.

“Sgt. Hunter paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country. He was a decorated war hero and the association felt strongly that his contributions to our country be honored,” Wells said.

The association evaluates alumni nominations for contributions in professional achievements, honors or awards received; community service; meritorious contributions to society; or memoriam for death in the line of duty.

Hunter will be recognized during a 6:30 p.m. Feb. 10 reception at the high school, with the award presented during halftime of the 7:30 p.m. Columbus East boys basketball game against Franklin.

Wells said members of Hunter’s family in the Columbus area, including his parents, indicated they will attend the program. Sgt. Hunter’s widow, Whitney Hunter, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, also will attend, he said.

Thousands of people lined a 4.5-mile route when Hunter’s remains were transported Aug. 22 from Columbus Municipal Airport to the Barkes, Weaver & Glick Funeral Home. Four days later, about 600 people attended Hunter’s Aug. 26 military funeral at Columbus East High School.

The Wall of Fame program works to build a legacy of excellence for past, present and future generations of Columbus East students.