The deputy in the car immediately turned on his blue lights and siren. Hunter, though a little frightened at first, turned to his mother and told her something big must have happened.
It was then Hunter learned this reception was definitely big – it was for him. The boy had returned home after spending the better part of the last two months at Scottish Rite and Emory University hospitals undergoing surgery and then chemotherapy and radiation treatments for brain cancer.
The East Paulding Middle School sixth-grader had not been home since early June when he underwent a CAT scan, which found the tumor.
His mother, Alyssa Landrum of Dallas, called him a “real fighter.”
“Hunter underwent a 13-hour surgery to remove the tumor and drain fluid from his brain,” she said.
Since that time, he has been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
However, Landrum said this is only phase one because her son will have to undergo another year of such treatments.
Paulding County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cpl. Ashley Henson said a friend contacted him about Hunter’s homecoming and wanted to know if a sheriff’s car could be stationed at the entrance to his subdivision and escort him in.
“Whatever the sheriff department can do to make Hunter’s day a little brighter, we very much enjoy doing,” Henson said.
“It was not only a pleasure but an honor for us to do this.”
More than 200 friends of the family plus faculty and Hunter’s friends at school were on hand for the homecoming.
“These folks put balloons all around and a big banner welcoming Hunter home so they had done a great job,” Henson said.
Just two days later, Sheriff Gary Gulledge personally visited Hunter.
Landrum said Hunter was overwhelmed with the reception he received and was thrilled to have the sheriff’s office also take part.
“After seeing the reception, Hunter started to cry,” she said.
“However, he quickly told me they were tears of joy and said he really didn’t know that many people cared about him.”