Fifth in a series on this year’s 20 Under 40 winners.
WATERLOO — Trent Hunter is a busy guy. He is a staffing manager at City & National Employment. He is a member of the Iowa Air National Guard. And he has found a number of ways to give back to the community he loves.
Grace Fee, with the Salvation Army, nominated Hunter for 20 Under 40 honors, saying “Trent Hunter is the epitome of a life of dedication and service to others. His passion for the city of Waterloo, his desire to see the community grow and thrive and his love for all he meets are several of the many reasons he is deserving of this honor.”
Hunter was born and raised in Waterloo. He went to East High School and Upper Iowa University. At age 21 he was managing the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.
In his “free” time, Hunter is on the advisory board of the Salvation Army and is its property chair.
“We closed our thrift store recently, so I am helping sell the building, getting it appraised as well as updating our current buildings, handling bids, that sort of thing.”
“I had a dear friend who worked with the Salvation Army. When he passed away, I just kept going. They do so much for the community. All the good they do, the community doesn’t even know. They feed the homeless population every day for lunch.
“And I work in staffing, so I see some of these same people. It means a lot. These people need a hand up. We need to try to get them going again on the right path, whether it’s financially or getting a job so they can be a better person for their self and the community.”
Years ago, Hunter volunteered pouring beer at Iowa Irish Fest. Now he is a member of the festival’s committee and serves as co-chair for merchandise.
“Since we’ve taken on merchandise, sales have increased by $7,000 each year,” he said. “We work so well together and to see just that portion growing, I love it. It’s great for the Cedar Valley and it’s great for downtown Waterloo.
“It’s more like a family there than a committee. It is so well run. It’s amazing there are more than 60 committee members. The respect level I have for the Irish Fest ... they’ve given me more than I could ever give them by volunteering.
Hunter also is active in the Waterloo Exchange Club.
“I’ve been a member of the Exchange Club for quite a while. It’s a big deal to me. They work with child abuse awareness. I can’t stand seeing anyone abused, but particularly children. The also teach Americansim and respect for the flag. Being a veteran, that means a lot to me. I love the Waterloo Exchange Club.”
Even in his work, Hunter tries his best to help the people of the community.
A lot of times, Hunter is the first stop for people being released from the Waterloo Residential Correctional Facility who are looking for jobs.
“They know I have the drive and motivation to help them,” he said. “It is my heart and my passion to help these people, and that helps everyone.
“I want them to have a good role model, someone to steer them in the right direction, someone to give them a push to work toward something.”
Also, as a member of the Iowa Air National Guard — he returned in May from a months-long deployment to the Turkey-Syria border — Hunter tries to help area veterans find jobs.
“Me being a vet and getting the opportunity to help vets, that is more rewarding than any paycheck I’ll ever get.”
Hunter said he has had mentors throughout his life.
“Everyone I encounter I learn something from, whether it’s how to do something or how not to do something,” he said.
“I did have a neighbor when I was growing up. I was 5 years old and we would work on vehicles. I really looked up to him. He taught me about being a man.
“And, of course, my mother, who is a volunteer freak like me, and my father. Everyone I see succeeding, I reach out and see what I can learn from them.”
Hunter’s commitment to his community is strong.
“I do what I do because I want to be a part of the continued growth,” he said. “Everything I do just makes me feel good.”
‘Everyone I encounter I learn something from, whether it’s how to do something or how not to do something.’
'Everyone I encounter I learn something from, whether it's how to do something or how not to do something.'
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