It's not much of a gamble to determine 2012 will be remembered in the minds of many Jacksonville and Cherokee County residents for its political overturns and college chaos.
It is, also, a sure bet that their hearts will be troubled by the loss of Stacy DeWayne Hunter for some time to come.
Referring to Hunter as a "beloved area figure" is not hyperbole. There is no stretch of the imagination at play here.
Hunter was a city code enforcement officer, had been an important member of the city's code enforcement team for nearly two decades, and also coached youth athletics and many other community activities involving children.
In all these capacities, he excelled; he was adored by friends, family and coworkers.
Then he was slain.
Hunter's Oct. 27 death at the age of 43 was devastating for the family, friends and fans who held and continue to hold his life up as a symbol, a standard, of what of a hard working man truly is capable of becoming in terms of accomplishments and positively affected lives.
He was was shot and killed early Oct. 27 at the night club on North Jackson Street that bears his name. His alleged killer is a distant relative.
A group of like-minded Jacksonville residents have banded together in a petition drive to get a city holiday named after this local hero.
Veronica Hunter, the victim's sister, and Lucinda "Cindy" Hollis, a cousin-in-law, have determined they would honor his memory by leading the petition effort.
“Stacy did so much. I'm telling you, there's no one else out there like him," Hollis has said. "What we're looking for is a holiday where everyone in the community can come together."
Even Hunter's job replacement, Tim Campbell of Tyler said he was impressed and humbled by the accomplishments of the man who came before him.
And Tim Campbell would know something about accomplishments. He's a former Houston Oiler and the brother of former professional NFL running back Earl "The Tyler Rose" Campbell.
- Ben Tinsley