Several weeks ago, I received a graduation announcement in my mailbox here at the office. I knew it was a graduation announcement by the way it looked and felt, but when I looked at the return address – Hunter Frantz, OKC, OK – the name didn’t ring any bells at all. Hunter Frantz. Hunter Frantz? I had no recollection of a Hunter Frantz.
When I opened it, though, I realized that I did know Hunter. Included in the graduation announcement for the United States Military Academy was a photo of me interviewing Hunter. On the back were scrawled the words, “Hunter Frantz & Jenni Carlson, PC North High School, Feb. 2009”. The picture was from national signing day. I wrote that year about Hunter signing to play football for Army, and I have to tell you, it was pretty cool to get that graduation announcement.
With the NBA Playoffs in full swing, I laid the announcement on my desk and thought, “I’ll follow up once the Thunder is done.”
But I have to admit, the announcement got buried and I kind of forgot about it.
Fast forward to Monday afternoon when I got an email from our human relations office. They had something for me that had been sitting down there for more than a week. They had contacted me while I was on the road covering the Thunder, and then, I’d forgotten to go get whatever they had.
When I went to HR, I was handed a newspaper. A bit yellowed. But still completely intact.
The date – Thursday, February 5, 2009.
On the cover – Hunter Frantz.
Accompanying the paper was a note from Hunter’s step dad: “Just wanted you to know he made it, and as he said to you in this article, now he gets his chance to serve his country. Thanks, Jon Stallings.”
To think, Hunter’s family thought enough of what we did that day five years ago to not only keep complete copies of the paper but also bring one to me to say thank you. They remembered it, but more than that, they cherished it. This was as humbling a moment as I’ve had in quite some time.
They wanted to thank us, but really, we should be thanking Hunter and his family.
So, a quick word to Hunter, one that I plan to share personally with him very soon: “Hunter, as an Oklahoman, I am so honored to know that you are defending my freedom as a member of the United States Army. We are proud of you, Second Lieutenant Frantz!”