HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Marquette Hunter knew his calling from an early age. The Youth and Family Counseling Services counselor said he was put on Earth to help other people.
"I think it has always been a passion of mine," Hunter said. "It is what I’m supposed to do. I am what I am. Here doing what I’m supposed to be doing."
At Youth and Family Counseling Services in Willow Lawn, Hunter works with troubled youth and their families as they cope with crime, homelessness, gang life and abuse. On many occasions Hunter is the last line of defense before the road turns worse for his clients. The Howard University graduate called his work challenging and truly rewarding.
Hunter, 43, credited his parents and grandmother with instilling in him a desire to give back.
"My grandmother leaves me with a saying that she says every time we talk on the telephone: ‘Be true to yourself and your fellow man,’” Hunter said. "A piece of her is in me and I have carried that around with me my whole life."
Hunter said he believed assisting an individual indirectly affects us all.
"I do believe that is what I’m doing I’m casting a pebble in the water and it's rippling," he said.
The Norfolk native’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. Henrico County’s Martin Luther King Commemoration Association honored Hunter with a distinguished Community Service Award.
"It is so refreshing to learn about people who are doing things you don’t know about," Helen Harris said. "Marquette is a doer. I think it is inspiration for the entire community that others should be giving back to the community."
This caring counselor said he was flattered by the recognition, but added true satisfaction comes when he sees the young people he helped.
"I think it is part of who I am. I don’t think there will be a time when I don’t help anybody in some capacity," he said.
Hunter also established a non-profit to help homeless veterans find temporary and permanent housing in our community. Hunter came from a long line of veterans and he does not want to see anyone who served our country without a roof over their heads.
Greg McQuade and CBS 6 News are featuring local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email firstname.lastname@example.org.