8/17/2020 10:10:00 AM Speaking from their hurting yet grateful hearts
Wal-Mart employees who helped pay for the bench to honor the memory of Hunter Rollie include, from left, Deanette Swenson, Tammy DeFrang, Sara Badger, Curtis and Barb Rollie, Hunter’s parents; Jarod Rollie, Hunter’s brother; Tony Talbot and Natalie Brazil, and, in front, from left, Pat Stenzel and Barb Smerud. The bench will be placed at the library at Bonner Elementary School, where Hunter was a student for several years. Hunter, born with severe microcephaly (“small brain, small head”) died on March 31, eight days after turning 19.
With a new bench honoring their son Hunter a few feet away in the Bonner Elementary School library, Curtis and Barb Rollie spoke from their hurting yet grateful hearts. Hunter, born with microcephaly, a condition in which a baby's head is significantly smaller than expected, died on March 31, eight days after turning 19 years old. "He was a life-changer," Curtis Rollie said. "Everybody he came in contact with remembers him well. We received so many letters, from people we didn't even know he came in contact with, that told us stories about things he did. His smile was infectious." Hunter had a tiny body, Barb Rollie said. He was 3 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed 40 pounds. "He had the best smile," she said. "His smile lit up a room. He was a happy kid, actually a pretty healthy kid." For the last three years of his life, Hunter was in and out of the hospital, fighting pancreatitis. During his last hospital visit, a virus (not COVID-19), attacked his system, and he passed away from multiple organ failure. "I thought he was pretty special," Barb said. "It made me feel honored to be his mother, because all these other people thought he was as special as I did." Barb said she's happy Hunter's memory bench will remain at Bonner Elementary School... For more on this story pick up your copy of the Aug. 18 Stewartville STAR.