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Colts Name Mark Hunter, Father of Late US Army Sgt. Jonathon Hunter, Horseshoe Hero

The Colts honored Mark Hunter and the Hunter family on Sunday. Sgt. Hunter was killed in action in Afghanistan on August 2.

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts have a new Horseshoe Hero -- the father of a Columbus native who was killed in action in Afghanistan. 

When the Colts first reached out to Mark Hunter about Horseshoe Hero honors, Hunter believed that it was his late son, Jonathon, who would be honored by the team on New Year's Eve. 

US Army Sgt. Jonathon Hunter, 23, was killed in an attack on a NATO convoy on August 2. He was just a few days into his first overseas deployment.

But, Colts representative Quinn Adams explained to Mark that he--and the entire Hunter family-- would be honored before Sunday's game for their grief, sacrifice, courage, and perseverance.

"Honorees are Colts fans selected either for outstanding community contributions or for exemplary courage and perseverance through challenging circumstances," Adams told The Republic newspaper in Columbus.

Mark Hunter did not nominate himself for the honor, according to Adams. He was nominated by a Colts season ticket holder who "contacted the Colts management to request recognition".

Hunter told The Republic that being named a Horseshoe Hero did not sit well with him, at first, and led to a mix

"I’m not looking for anything for me,” he told The Republic. “I’m just interested in honoring my son and keeping his legacy alive."

As the big day grew nearer, Hunter realized that being named a Horseshoe Hero could help bring attention to the newly-created Sgt. Jonathon Michael Hunter Legacy Scholarship.

The fund, announced a few weeks ago by The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, is several thousand dollars short of the $15,000 needed to begin offering scholarships.

The family is hopeful that the recognition by the Colts will help increase donations, Hunter says.

Learn more about the scholarship -- and find out how to donate -- by visiting the Heritage Fund here.

(Photo by Icon Sportswire/Getty Images.)

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