This month’s Military Outdoors Shoutout goes to JR Hunte.
JR Hunte is a former Air Force combat medic and currently the outdoor programs coordinator for the Sierra Club’s North Star Chapter, creating and administering outdoor programs and content for veterans and their families, BIPOC communities, and at-risk youth. Before joining the Sierra Club, he served as a combat medic in the U.S. Air Force during Desert Shield and Storm. Among his other qualifications and certifications, JR has a Search And Rescue Technician certification from National Association for Search And Rescue and currently volunteers with K9 Search Midwest. In his spare time, JR also is a founding member of the Twin Cities BIPOC Outdoor Leaders Group.
What has been a standout moment for you working with your chapter’s SCMO program?
I work with a group of formerly homeless Veterans staying at a facility called Upper Post (Common Bond Communities facility). I have run a couple of events with them, and every time I go there, they are genuinely excited to have me hang out with them, and always have very positive things to say. They have no idea I get way more from them than I ever give...
Why is SCMO’s work important to you?
Being a veteran (Air Force Medic), I know what it's like to come out of that world and feel truly lost. There were no real support services for me, and I managed to find everything I needed mentally and spiritually from the outdoors. I want to give that to all veterans.
What’s your favorite outdoor activity, and why?
I am pretty indiscriminate when it comes to outdoor activities. I like it all and regularly spend time outdoors rock climbing, hiking, teaching, backpacking.
You can find the scheduled dates for the North Star Chapter's upcoming events online, including hikes and pole walking for various groups and ability levels. Learn more about North Star’s work at their chapter website.
Sierra Club currently has Military Outdoors programs in seven chapters – Alaska, Angeles (Los Angeles), Connecticut, Florida, Loma Prieta (Bay Area), New York and North Star (Minnesota). To get involved, you can contact your local chapter to join an outing or for training to become an outings leader yourself.