Rachel’s Hunt’s Surprise Sidewalk Celebration
Sheltering at home for months safely away from the relentless coronavirus, Rachel Hunt peered out her kitchen window, wondering why so many cars were lining up on both sides of her quiet neighborhood street. “What in the world is happening,” she asked her son Bob. He quietly carried a chair out to her little porch, and she cautiously stepped out.
A booming “Happy Birthday, Rachel,” resonated from some 30 or so masked Assistance League volunteers cheering her on. They were glad to be there because August 24, 2020, was Rachel’s102nd birthday and her 39th year of Assistance League of Colorado Springs philanthropic service. “I was completely overwhelmed. It’s unbelievable to be so kind to come for my birthday,” said Rachel, thankful to see and speak to so many dear friends even at a safe distance.
This pandemic isn’t Rachel’s first. She was born in 1918 when the Spanish flu killed 50 million people globally, including an estimated 675,000 Americans. She was 11 during the Great Depression when her parents “lost everything,” and 21 when World War II began. Delicate but undaunted, Rachel is “blessed to be so old” and having lived and thrived through life-changing events. She attended Duke and Kent State universities, became a teacher, and in 1940, married Robert Hunt, Sr. a World War II U.S. Air Force B-24 bomber pilot. They were together 73 years before his passing in 2014.
Apart from her wedding day, Hunt described her 102nd birthday celebration as “absolutely unforgettable.” Cynthia Robinson, First Violinist in the Colorado Springs Symphony/Philharmonic and Instrumental Music Director at Fountain Valley School, was a musical delight performing familiar upbeat tunes. Standing on the lawn wearing a plastic face shield, Robinson played Irving Berlin’s “Always,” Rachel and Robert’s favorite song. Naturally, another favorite, the rousing “U.S. Air Force Song,” got everyone clapping and singing a maskmuffled, “Off we go into the wild blue yonder.”
Boundless, brave spirits gathered that uncommon day. Rachel’s grit, grace, and sisterly love will outshine pandemic gloom far beyond its time. Though only eyes were visible on shielded faces,
they sparkled with joy and hope.
— Pamela Casteel, Marketing Chair