Rodney Hunt likes to stay busy. For the past 10 years, Hunt has organized and been Master of Ceremonies for the Marion Memorial Day Parade and the July 4th Parade. Because of his “behind the scenes” work on behalf of the town of Marion, Rodney Hunt has been chosen to receive a Wanderer Keel Award for 2013.
This year’s July 4th Parade had more than 100 entries participating. Hunt, along with fellow members of the Benjamin D. Cushing VFW Post 2425 and the Ladies Auxiliary, helped organize the event and made it look easy.
“When you have the kind of help I have, it all works,” Hunt said. “I enjoy the parade planning. People are happy at the parade and really enjoy all the music, floats, clowns, antique tractors, horses and antique autos. It’s a happy time for everyone, and that makes all the work worthwhile.
“Demi Barros organized the parade for many years, and I took over around 10 years ago,” Hunt continued. Barros and Hunt are members of the Benjamin D. Cushing Post 2425 Veterans of Foreign Wars in Marion.
“My father in law, Antoine Monterio, asked me to join the VFW back in 1992,” Hunt said, “and that started the ball rolling.”
With 33 years of military service, Hunt retired in 2007 after serving three years of active duty in the United States Army, with two years in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968. After returning home, Hunt was in the Army Reserve for four years and then spent 26 years with the Massachusetts National Guard.
Hunt was born in Cambridge and is one of seven children. His mother is Wampanoag, and his father was African-American. He is also the father of seven children, six of them local and one in Texas.
“We go to the Pow Wow in Mashpee and the Cape Verde Festival. My mother is 94 years old and is the oldest Wampanoag Indian in the tribe. Her father was the Chief of the tribe,” Hunt explained. Hunt’s mother lives at home in Wareham, and he and his sister tend to her shopping and laundry and visit her regularly.
Hunt retired after 32 years from the New Bedford Employment Office.
“I did it all: job training, writing resumes, interview coaching, matching people and their skills with jobs … helping people,” he said. “I’m lucky in that I had a career that produced results in placing people in jobs they needed. I like to help people.”
This past April, Hunt celebrated 40 years of opening the New Bedford YMCA at 5:30 am, a part-time job he enjoys. “I open it up each day and also help with security,” Hunt said. In his spare time, he likes to spend time with his grandchildren and family.
Marion citizens attend and enjoy the two major parades held each year, and now they know the driving force behind them. Thank you, Rodney Hunt.
By Joan Hartnett-Barry