Community unites to celebrate a 15-year-old’s life
By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer
The Watford City community joined together this past weekend to celebrate, honor, and remember a 15-year-old boy, whose life was cut short too early. A boy who had a heart for welding, dirt bikes, quads, trucks, and skate parks. A boy who walked into a room and could make anyone laugh with his quirky smile and his sarcastic-ridden jokes. A boy who was outspoken and would always stand up for the under-dog.
Devon Blair Hunt was tragically overcome by a shop fire on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. Just a few weeks prior, he had purchased his first beat-up green-colored truck with his own hard-earned money. He was so proud and excited. He had sold his dirt bike and bought his new truck for $800. No one knows for sure if Devon was working on his truck or some other project when the fire broke out in the shop.
Devon’s dad, Ryan Hunt, does know one thing for sure. The night Devon was taken, Ryan got to make Devon his favorite dinner - a pizza pasta magic stuff that Devon just loved!
“Devon really loved this pizza pasta magic crap,” joked Ryan. “And I got to make him his favorite dinner the night the fire broke out. He loved it!”
Devon was born in Las Vegas, Nev., at Sunrise Hospital on Wednesday, April 12, 2000, to his father, Ryan, and his mother, Jennifer Lynn Stanert, both of Last Vegas. Devon grew up in Las Vegas with his dad, mom, and older brother, Tristan. Tristan was a proud older brother, just 14 months older than Devon.
“My favorite memory of Devon was playing basketball,” said Tristan. “We always played basketball. And we were always riding dirt bikes and quads. What I’m going to miss the most is just hanging out with him.”
Many shared fond memories of the boy. His friends, his family, and those closest to him.
“I remember one time, Devon came over to my friend, Jazzy’s, house,” said Bria Durham, one of Devon’s close friends and classmates. “We were playing Mario Kart and Devon went into Jazzy’s room and was trying on her socks. Her feet were tiny, like half the size of Devon’s. Then he started trying on her shoes. It was just so funny. We couldn’t stop laughing.”
“In mechanics class, we’d always be welding,” remembered another friend and classmate, Caden McClellan. “We’d always be competing to see who had the best weld. It was pretty close. We’d always be drawing and making houses. The last day I saw him, he was saying that next summer he was going to be building his own house. If he put his mind to something, he did it. He was really confident in that too. I didn’t believe him at first, but I believe he really could have built his own house.”
According to all of Devon’s friends, there was never a time where he couldn’t make someone laugh. He always had something to say, something smart-aleck, where he could always make people laugh and smile. And what was most referred to was Devon’s confident little smirk.
Amongst the memories shared by many, were Devon’s many accomplishments and trademarks. According to his dad, Devon could jump on a pogo stick over 1,000 times and still be bouncing around. He was good at it and couldn’t get enough bouncing! He was also always intrigued when he was learning about and perfecting his Ventriloquist act with his dummies.
From the time Devon was three and a half years old, he was assigned the special nickname, ‘Devon Doolittle’ because he felt like he had to help save everyone and every creature, big or small. He was always helping animals, little critters, and bugs, said his dad. He wanted to be a veterinarian when he was little.
As as he grew into a young man, he wanted to be a welder. His work was out of true talent. He could weld anything from a metal flower to a metal cross. He loved working with his hands. And he had high goals. Every time he put his mind to something, he’d do it. He was driven to get his permit and to hold onto every last penny he made, said his dad.
“Devon was an extremely kind and talented young man,” said Anna Schwartz, Devon’s teacher, where Devon attended school. “I loved hearing him come into my class and talk about his work and his motor sports. He always went above and beyond. I remember Devon was missing a few assignments that last week and I went to him and told him I was worried about him getting his assignments in. He told me that Doug’s girlfriend was going to ground him if he didn’t get them turned in. That day, before the fire happened, he had come in and turned in all of his assignments.”
Those memories and many more were shared at his memorial service on Saturday, Nov. 7. A crowd quickly filled the empty seats as Devon’s friends, family, classmates, and community members hugged each other and reminisced on the good times. People were reminded to make every moment last and to take each moment as if it were their last.
Devon’s life got cut short and no one will ever understand why. As his dad said, this world not only lost a gentleman and a best friend, but a leader and a healer of souls.
A balloon release was held after the memorial service in honor of Devon. Every balloon was representative of a memory shared with a young man who will forever be in the hearts of all those whose lives he touched.