Progress staff reports
Jacksonville Daily Progress
Billy Redd has probably thrown away, for lack of storage space, more trophies, plaques and awards than most sportsmen will ever earn.
If Redd lives to be a hundred, there is one accolade that he will never, ever, ever part with.
In late February Redd, who has served as a youth coach to the young men of the community and has also fulfilled the role of mentor to many of them for the last 41-consecutive years, was named as the winner of the Inaugural Stacy Hunter Award.
The laud was presented to Redd, who is employed as Director of Sanitation for the City of Jacksonville, by the Jacksonville Dribblers Association, the town's premier youth basketball organization.
The award was given in thanks for Redd's 25-plus years of service to the entity, in addition to applauding him for having served as a trustee for the Dribblers Association for five years also was made in recognition of Redd “exhibiting and living a life worthy of emulation.”
The bestowal was named in honor of Stacy Hunter, who was the victim of a tragic homicide late last year.
Hunter, who also was heavily involved with the Dribblers Association, and Redd shared a special bond, which makes this award so powerfully meaningful to Redd.
“I worked with Stacy and I was coaching when Stacy was a player (in the Dribblers Association),” Redd said. “I hired Stacy (to work for the City of Jacksonville).
“My relationship with Stacy was closer than best friends. We talked about family and things outside of sports. There were things that Stacy would talk to me about that were in the mold of a father-son relationship, although I never considered us to have had a father-son relationship.”
To say that Redd was overwhelmed at being honored in a manner that was so closely associated with Hunter, would be an understatement of epic proportion.
“I'm man enough to say that I loved that man (Stacy Hunter),” an emotional Redd said. “I loved him because I knew if needed him he would always be there for me and if he needed me, likewise, I would always be there for him.
“Out of all the accolades that I have received in my lifetime, I rank this one right up there as one of the top ones.”
Redd was quick to point out that his service to the community is not done in hopes of receiving feathers in his cap.
“I'm not in it to receive awards,” Redd said. “I'm in it to try to spend time with young men and to show them that there are stages that you must go through in life to become a man.
“Stacy and I talked about a lot of things...and winning wasn't the important thing, it was developing young minds because if you teach a young boy the proper structure in life, he will never forget those things.”
Redd said that he believes some of the success of the Dribblers Association program can be seen in the finished product that takes the court representing Jacksonville High School.
“The success of the Dribblers program and the contributions that Stacy (Hunter) made through the years can be seen when you look at the men's basketball program at Jacksonville High School,” Redd said.
The Indians recently completed a 33-2 season and set a new school record for the most wins in a single season.
“Probably over 95-percent of the boys on that team came up through the Dribblers program,” Redd said. “They learned to work hard and they learned how to win at an early age.”
With Hunter having been called home (far too early) and Redd, respectfully, getting up in years, there is a rather large void in the leadership of the local youth basketball program.
“I thank God that He has enabled me to do what I've been able to do through the years,” Redd said. “And I thank Him for for the longevity that He has given me.
“Stacy is not with us an more, so now someone has to step up and take the baton and run with it.”
And while Hunter's shoes will be big ones to fill, without question, faultlessness is not a prerequisite for the job.
“Stacy was a good man,” Redd said. “He wasn't perfect, he had faults just like each of us do.
“Cherokee County, not just Jacksonville, misses Stacy and I miss him, too.”