By retired Sergeant First Class Don Sornson Jr.

Petty Officer Bobby Hunter never set out to join the military. Bobby’s father retired from the US Army, and to Bobby, that was not the life for him.

“Initially I really didn’t want to go in the military, just that when I started going to college and I realized it wasn’t going to work out for me, it made it easier for me to go into the military,” said Hunter. But Hunter had grown up in that environment and knew what his dad had to go through. 

”But I just didn’t want to go in the Army,” Hunter laughs. He said he didn’t want to do the “woods” thing, acknowledging that Army members go into the field.  He said he checked out some of the other military branches, and the Navy recruiter said the right things.  “And that’s how I ended up in the Navy.” But if you guys want to find out how things go during the Army/Navy game in the Hunter family, you’re going to have to listen to the show.

By now, listeners know I like to make pop culture references and tie the experiences my guests have had to those stories Hollywood likes to tell about the military. I had to dig deep for the Navy though. “Under Siege” starring Steven Segall was the only movie I could think of about a Navy cook.

“That’s not true! That’s a little far off on being a cook in the Navy,” Hunter exclaimed. He said the movie allows Steven Segall’s character to go out and participate in “war stuff,” but according to Hunter, you have to focus on cooking 24 hours a day on a real Navy ship when you’re a chef.

Hunter is now the Executive Chef for the Columbia Fireflies, an organization that is really stepping up to the plate (yep that’s a baseball reference) and going to bat (yep, I did it again!) for the veterans in our community. Hunter said it means a lot to him to see the way the Fireflies staff interacts with people from all branches of the military. He added that he is proud of his affiliation with the Fireflies.

Hunter brought Fireflies employee Kaylee Swanson to discuss their upcoming event to help veterans. The Fireflies will soon be hosting a “Special Bike Night to Stomp out Vet Medical Debt.” It is intended to help erase more than $800,000 worth of debt for more than 750 military families. If any DUDE listeners or Cola Daily readers would like to help, Swanson said you can participate in a text-to-give campaign. Participants can text “FIREFLIES” to 50155. According to Swanson, the donation can be as little as one dollar. The second way you can contribute is to join the motorcycle ride, beginning at the South Carolina Military Museum and ending at the ballpark. “Tickets for that, it’s a minimum donation of $15 but you get to be a part of the biggest thing that I’ve been fortunate to accomplish in my career,” she said.

Categories: Columbia, Military, Richland County

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