Jacksonville Daily Progress
One didn't need to see the grief laying squarely on the shoulders of Stacy Dewayne Hunter's sister Tuesday night to understand how heavily the murder of the treasured city employee still weighs on the city.
But the grief was there, nonetheless – unavoidable. Bearing it, the silent Veronica Hunter stood very still at the front podium, seeming very, very alone.
She struggled to speak – to ask the City Council at Tuesday's meeting if they would name the newly-reacquired city recreation center after her brother, slain in an October robbery last year. (His accused killer has not yet been tried.)
For one dramatic second, Veronica Hunter seemed unable to voice her request. So City Manager Mo Raissi stepped in and finished for her, relaying to the council what she wished to happen.
“I can understand how she felt,” Raissi explained Wednesday. “She was very emotional.”
As soon as Raissi explained the request, the city council immediately voted unanimously to make it so.
So Veronica Hunter left the meeting, still in silence, carrying in her arms illustrations of what the center will look like with her brother's name on it. Along the way she told a reporter she is very happy with the council's decision.
Veronica Hunter has long championed the idea of some kind of commemoration for her brother, who was also a valued community leader. These ideas have included a special city day named in his honor.
Raissi said Wednesday the work to put the name on the center will probably be done in-house and should take less than a month to complete.
“We're ordering things starting this morning and when its done we hope to call everyone in and have some photo sessions,” Raissi said.