JENNINGS (KATC) – A mid-April baseball game between Jennings and Southside is more than meets the eye.
That night, throwing out the first pitch is Freshman Hunner LeBlanc.
Hunner can’t really lift his arm or hold the ball. He is bound by a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down after his cousin shot him in the neck in January.
“I blacked out. I remember watching them hold my neck. I couldn’t feel anything. I couldn’t talk. I could just see” he remembers. “‘Were you scared you’d die?’ I was.”
Hunner’s incident was one of two this year to have shaken the community.
In March his friend and football teammate Evan Reed was killed in a Mardis Gras weekend car crash.
“Evan was 14. He was just beginning to live life,” said his grandmother Valerie Reed. “He was just experiencing life.”
“That was a rough, rough week in the hospital,” said Leslie Babineaux, Hunner’s mom. “All he said to me was ‘why me and not Evan too?'”
Evan Reed and Hunner LeBlanc were both Freshmen on the Jennings football team. Neither played baseball but that didn’t stop the Diamond Dawgs from rallying behind the two. That game against Southside rose $2,000 for the two families.
“They all have a huge heart,” said Babineaux. “They’re a team and stick together. I feel for them, I don’t know what their class is going through.”
Monday, Jennings football begins spring practice. It is sure to be an emotional day for the team and Evan and Hunner’s families.
“”Hunner just made the team,” his mom says fighting back tears. “We didn’t even get to watch him. Hunner went to Midland and he begged and begged to go to Jennings to play football, and he didn’t even get to play.”
If you are interested in helping either family you can do so using these links to their respective Go Fund Me pages.