news-category: Academics

Nursing Scholar Pays Tribute to Dr. Jack Hunt

Charity Bennett and Dr. Jack Hunt

Charity Bennett, ’20, Honored to Receive Scholarship and Blessed by Hunt’s Kindness

To our readers: Charity Bennett graduated in May from the Hunt School of Nursing’s traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Gardner-Webb University. She met Dr. Jack Hunt in 2019 to thank him for providing the scholarship that enabled her to attend nursing school. From that meeting, she and Hunt became friends. She is currently working with Novant Health in Charlotte, N.C., in the New Grad Residency program. She shares the following tribute to Hunt. 

Written by: Charity Bennett

Charity BennettIn 1 Peter 4:10, Peter calls Christians to serve, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” I believe Dr. Jack Hunt did just that. His work reflected the value he had in the Lord’s investment in his life, and he was a wonderful steward of many blessings. He truly showed me that community engagement is central to the walk of a Christian. A lesson I will not soon forget.

Dr. Hunt was one of the most generous, loving, and kind souls I have ever had the privilege of meeting. He generously created and funded the Hunt Sisters Nursing Scholarship, a scholarship that I am humbled to have received twice during my time at Gardner-Webb in the Hunt School of Nursing. His scholarship gave me the means to finish nursing school, as he helped to lift a significant financial burden for me.

After receiving the scholarship, I wanted to meet the man who had such a grand impact on my time in nursing school. It was so easy to get connected to Dr. Hunt, as he was a core part of the surrounding community—everyone knew him or knew of him. I had the privilege of meeting him on Valentine’s Day in 2019. Dr. Hunt invited me into his home where we spent the afternoon getting to know each other. I remember bringing him an arrangement of Valentine’s Day flowers from the local flower shop, as I had learned his wife had passed only two short years before. Everyone should have a Valentine, I thought. Little did I realize at the time just how well-loved and respected Dr. Hunt was from everyone that met him.

That afternoon we spent sharing our stories, lives, and experiences. I was humbled by how much Dr. Hunt wanted to know me and learn about my life and experiences. He was an impactful man during all parts of his life, yet he did not let that make him proud or arrogant. Dr. Hunt not only invested in me with his generous scholarship donation, he invested in me through inviting me into his life and family. He and I became friends after that initial encounter. Dr. Hunt was the definition of Southern Hospitality. He invited me to his house on Wednesdays to enjoy lunch with his family and other members of the community. There was always room at his table for anyone from all walks of life. He would call me often, checking in on me and how I was doing, always asking about my academics and personal life. He always made me feel like an honored guest when I was in his home. The reality was, however, that I was so honored to be a part of HIS life! I felt so blessed to be included in his family. They truly are some of the best people I know.

Dr. Hunt told me on several occasions that he held nurses in the highest regard. His actions and words supported this. I was always humbled when he spoke of the nursing profession with such high regard, as he himself is someone worth giving the highest respect. I am looking forward to continuing his legacy through my nursing career, as he was a large contributor to my success. Dr. Hunt embodied qualities that every Bulldog Nurse should strive to be: compassionate, loving, generous, community-driven, family-focused, and kind-hearted. I am so proud that my Hunt School of Nursing was sponsored and so well supported by such a wonderful man.

My heart is so full when I think of him. He was 97 years young—full of love and life. I will always remember Dr. Hunt’s kindness, and open arms towards me. He believed in his community—and invested everything into it. He not only provided me with financial blessings through his scholarship, he also gave me the gift of friendship. I am so grateful for the ways he invited me into his life, sharing his time, resources, and friendship with me. I will never forget when I was home in Indiana last summer, he called me several times, so excited to hear about my life and asking when I would be back to Gardner-Webb for the upcoming school year. His friendship was so sweet to me, and I will miss it dearly.

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