It seems that all we hear anymore are negative stories about the tobacco industry. Seldom do we get to hear about someone from our industry who has done something worthy of hero status. The fantastic thing about this story is not only the person who started this amazing journey, but the people in our industry who joined her mission to complete a project that is almost unbelievable.
This story starts in Harrah, WA, population 300. It is a town that time forgot. It supports farms in a large agricultural area and was known in its heyday as the Sugar Beet capital of the world (well, maybe not the world). Since then, the town deteriorated and the quality of education, as well as the quality of life left something to be desired. It desperately needed a facelift and a huge act of faith.
In 2009 it got one. Judy Hunter, the owner of Lil Brown Smoke Shack, was inspired to build a modern educational facility for the Harrah Community Christian School (serving approximately 60 students in preschool through eighth grade), where her youngest daughter currently attends classes.
The previous school consisted of several small houses and an aging church. Under those conditions, the Harrah Community Christian School was forced to limit the number of students who could attend, as well as the type of physical activities in which those students could participate.
Judy worked closely with the Yakama Nation Tribe and was granted permission to purchase reservation property to construct a 20,000-square-foot preschool through eighth grade educational facility, including a gymnasium. Judy obligated herself with a personal, out-of-pocket initial investment of $1.5 million dollars and obtained a construction loan of $2.5 million dollars, which has since converted to a fixed mortgage. Judy’s financial obligation to date is $4 million dollars to benefit the Harrah Community Christian School because it was the right thing to do.
The John Hunter Foundation was established in honor of John Hunter, Judy’s husband and father of their children. The mission of the foundation is to provide and help maintain a spacious school for the students attending The Harrah Community Christian School. The Foundation will serve several purposes. Specifically, the foundation shall provide charitable and educational financial aid (for a period of 25 years) to the property and services for the benefit of the building of the Harrah Community Christian School.
We would like to thank those who have helped us with donations. The people in our industry are truly the best! We invite you to join this great group in helping us complete Harrah Community Christian School. Click here to see a current list of our donors.
Donations of any amount can be made to the John Hunter Foundation. All donations are tax deductible—our 501(c)(3) number is 27-2883506.
…in person: At all Central Valley Bank locations; 509-576-0424
…by mail: PO Box 3211, Union Gap, WA 98903