EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF ABILENE NEIGHBORHOODS IN PROGRESS PRESIDENT, ABILENE/TAYLOR COUNTY NAACP
Petty Hunter is a community advocate and a civic leader who has fostered positive social change while promoting education, civic values, economic and community development and eldercare in his hometown of Abilene, TX. Often referred to as the "King of Abilene," Petty has made a tremendous impact in his community through his tireless efforts to create affordable housing and improve living conditions for all citizens of Abilene, including the minority community.
Always at the forefront of social change, Petty was part of the first racially integrated class at Abilene High School and the first African-American to letter in football. After high school, he played football at North Texas State University and earned a degree from Texas South University. For nearly 30 years, Petty held leadership positions at the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department, eventually retiring as Deputy Director of Recreation.
It was during a high school reunion visit to Abilene in 1989 that Petty became convinced that he needed to give back to the community where he grew up, particularly his beloved Carver Neighborhood which had become infested by crime and drugs. After retiring from the Houston Parks Department in 1999, and in 2001, Petty returned to Abilene and committed himself to making a difference through advocacy work and community service.
As Executive Director of Abilene Neighborhoods in Progress, Inc., Petty's mission is to create affordable housing while transforming neighborhoods. He has worked to obtain grants to improve blighted areas, and enlisted volunteers of "Carver Teens" to help rid the community of the drug trade. No effort is too small for this community champion, who can be seen visiting houses door-to-door with a lawnmower and gardening supplies. Petty also supports the local business community and assists minority groups with small business development goals.
Additionally, Petty is devoted to improving education in Abilene. As President of the Abilene/Taylor County Chapter of the NAACP, Petty's work on closing the academic achievement gap in the local school district led to the creation of the Abilene Independent School District (AISD)'s Closing the Gap Committee, which monitors various social and academic indicators to assess academic achievement and makes recommendations to the school district to address issues. He also works to provide tutoring for students of all races who need after-school help, ensuring that the Abilene ISD has set up centers staffed with teachers.
In addition to all his hands-on commitments, Petty participates on many boards including the Interested Citizens of Abilene North, the Community Foundation of Abilene, Taylor County Community Action Program, the West Central Texas Workforce Development board, The Grace Museum, Abilene United Way, the National Black United Fund, the Abilene Black Chamber of Commerce, Frontier Texas and the Regional Steering Committee for Economic Development, among others. An active community member, Petty's social work values and ethics demonstrate a true leader committed to helping others and making a lasting difference.