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Father keeps son's memory alive with pumpkin gifts
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Forsyth County News
For 13 years, Forsyth County Sheriff's Office Lt. Tommy Hunter has taken time every October to carry out his son's wishes.

At 9 years old, Thomas P. Hunter III was diagnosed with cancer in January 1994. His parents gave him a pumpkin to carve one Halloween during his stay at Scottish Rite of Atlanta.

"He carved it up and kept the seeds," Hunter said. "He said when he got out of the hospital he was going to grow enough pumpkins with those seeds to bring down to other kids at the hospital."

He died in June 1996 at age 11. But his dad took his son's words to heart, and he's taking 300 pumpkins to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Monday morning.

"It's to keep his dream alive," Hunter said. "I've been taking pumpkins down there since October of '96."

Sheriff's Capt. Frank Huggins said it's a "heartwarming story."

"He's a good person," Huggins said. "As a supervisor, Lt. Hunter can sometimes be intimidating, but beneath that gruff nature lies a heart made of gold."

Burt's Pumpkin Farm of Dawson County donated the pumpkins Friday, and Hunter will take them down to Atlanta early Monday, where nurses will help unload them and take them individually to each patient's room.

Hunter said he had just begun his job at the sheriff's office in 1994 when his son was diagnosed with neuroblastoma.
"It was sudden," he said. "We had no idea he was even sick at the time."

Hunter said his son was in and out of the hospital for the next two-and-half years.

"He must have gone through a lot," Huggins said.

Hunter said "this is my way of carrying out my son's wishes. This is what I feel like I should do for him."