In honor of all veterans who serve, we continue to share the stories of our community veterans in our special series Veterans Voices. Now we share the story of retired Staff Sergeant Evan Hunt. Most of his time in the military was spent helping others and it inspired him to make it his lifelong mission.
“After September 11th, it was a lot of people joining and I think I figured it was as good a time as any to go,” said Evan Hunt.
Seeing the impact 9/11 had on the world took a toll on Hunt. The U.S. had taken a hit, and people remained on edge from the attack that killed close to 3,000 people.
“I went is as security forces, military police and I had a really good time doing so. Traveling the world and stuff like that. I went to Iraq a few times, I went to Colombia a couple of times, and went through a lot of hurricanes. Also, tsunamis in Malaysia,” added Hunt.
In 2004, a deadly earthquake and tsunami struck south Asia claiming the lives of over 226,000 people, and leaving almost two million homeless. Hunt says he had never seen anything like it before.
“That was very eye-opening but it was also—I will never forget seeing that type of destruction from water and how many people died from that. It was probably as emotionally jarring as going to Iraq the first time,” remembered Hunt.
Delivering food and supplies to people in need was apart of his mission, but no amount of training could prepare him for the horrific things he encountered.
The Detriot native added, “It doesn’t matter how hardcore you think you are. But it’s not natural to see death. It’s not natural to see people being maimed. It’s not natural to see destruction and poverty and impoverish people.”
He would go on to serve over 10 years in the Air Force, and his very last stop would be at Minot Air Force Base.
“Minot definitely was not going to be my choice to stay and live. It wasn’t. I could not stand this place, but once I got involved with the community and saw how it was outside of the military, and how loving these people are,” he stated.
Missing that brotherly bond and commandery from the military, he joined the Ice Cold Ryders Motorcycle Club, where he now serves as the vice president.
The organization puts on yearly fundraising events — Pics4Kids, Ice Cold Christmas, and Food for Thought, a fundraiser to clear negative lunch accounts for students in Minot.
“We felt like if we could be that little push that gave people that small chance or another opportunity that they may not have had, then it would benefit the community,” added Hunt.
A community the veteran now calls home. People he now calls family. And it’s all because of the military.
“That’s something that no one can ever take away,” said Hunt.
The Ice Cold Ryders Motorcycle Club received the Partners in Education Organization award from the Minot Public School District earlier this year. Evan says over the years, they’ve raised more than $10,000 to put toward negative lunch balances.