Former Tennis: ECISD honors John Wayne ‘Skipper’ Hunt
BY RUTH CAMPBELL
With a full career at the Texas Department of Public Safety behind him, John Wayne “Skipper” Hunt decided he didn’t want to just fade off into the sunset so he took on relief officer duties with the Ector County ISD Police Department.
Hunt recently won the Police Officer of the Year Award from the district.
“To be honest, it was special just to be nominated for it and it was really special when the coworkers awarded me with that honor,” Hunt said.
He is the ECISD Police Department’s relief officer.
“I pretty much work when their officers are off, which is weekends, their school holidays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, spring break, etc.,” Hunt said.
He doesn’t mind doing it.
“I’ve done it so long it’s kind of … a win-win for both of us.
Their officers get to be off and I get to continue working and make some extra money,” Hunt said.
ECISD Police Chief Todd Hiner said he has worked with Hunt for 24 years.
“He’s been here longer than anyone else,” Hiner said. “He is one of the most dedicated and loyal people and loyal officers I’ve ever met. He brings a multitude of experience. He had previously worked for the DPS and was a lieutenant with the DPS, so he brings a lot of experience and a lot of hard work behind this, so we just appreciate him. I couldn’t think of anyone that deserves it more than him.”
A San Angelo native, Hunt started college at Texas Tech University playing tennis. He ended up having to transfer to Central Texas College in Killeen. From there, he was recruited by a coach from what was called the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette.
“I finished my final three years of college there,” Hunt said.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in education and an associate degree in criminal justice.
When he was in college, his brother Joe was a highway patrolman in Odessa. Joe Hunt retired from DPS in 1998 and. At the time, he was a Texas Ranger stationed in San Angelo. In 2000, Joe Hunt was elected Tom Green County Sheriff. He was reelected in 2004 and 2008. Due to health reasons, he retired in 2010 from his position as sheriff and passed away on Oct. 1, 2013, Skipper Hunt said in a text message.
“And on my holidays like Thanksgiving … I would come ride with him and developed an interest in the job. My degree is in education. I started out (thinking) I wanted to be a coach. It’s just the time came and I decided right out of college when I graduated to go to the DPS academy and never looked back,” Hunt said.
He added that riding with his brother got him thinking about going into law enforcement.
“I saw what he did and it just kind of grew on me. I wanted to do the same thing,” Hunt said.
Hunt was one month shy of 35 years with the Highway Patrol. His first duty station was in McCamey where he stayed for a year and a half.
Hunt’s brother was promoted to Texas Ranger and went to Lubbock, so Hunt put in a transfer to Odessa and came to town in 1977.
“My DPS career was McCamey, Odessa. I made sergeant. I went to Fort Stockton for six years and then I promoted again to lieutenant. There was a vacancy in San Angelo, which happened to be my home town so I put in to transfer there and that’s where I finished my career,” Hunt said.
He added that his entire law enforcement career was with DPS. Hunt has worked part time for the ECISD Police Department since 1988.
“… I approached the chief, at the time, of the school district here and asked if I could continue on a part-time basis. He agreed to that, so that’s what I’ve been doing since I retired in 2010,” Hunt said.
The ECISD police chief at the time was Brian Moersch.
Asked about his nickname of Skipper, he said he’s had it since he was young.
“Rumor has it, there were some truancy issues when I was younger that got me that name,” Hunt said.
Hunt has been married twice. His second wife, Linda, died of breast cancer in 2012. Between them, they had five children.
Asked whether retirement is on the horizon, Hunt said not quite yet.
“I think there is light at the end of the tunnel, but right now I still enjoy what I do and I’m able to do to it. I still consider it to be a win-win for the school district and for myself, but I do not have a time table on when I’m going to not do it anymore,” Hunt said.
He said the ECISD Police Department is a “perfect fit” for him.
“I’m just blessed to work around a bunch of guys that I’ve worked around for a long time. Most of the employees of the school district have careers from other agencies such as the sheriff’s office or OPD (the Odessa Police Department) and I fall in that category. A lot of the officers here I’ve known for a long time and worked well with them when I was working with DPS and work well with them now,” he added.* * * * *
Athletic Network footnotes below by Dr. Ed Dugas.
Please click here for Skipper's Athletic Network profile.
Please click here for the 1972 Tennis Photo Gallery, including several photos of Skipper, teammates, etc.
Please click here for the 2013 Tennis Reunion, then scroll down where Skipper is included in several photos.
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