Friend, mentee of Jackie Walorski speaks out after tragedy

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 11:18 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - 16 News Now interviewed Ethan Hunt, a 25-year-old from Mishawaka, who said Congresswoman Jackie Walorski was his mentor for over a decade.

They met at an election party when Ethan was 13 years old.

“She genuinely cared about every person whether you agreed with her or disagreed with her,” Hunt recalled.” “She was strong in her convictions. She was a role model.”

Hunt said he jumped on an opportunity to intern with her when it became available.

“She served people like they were her family,” Hunt said.

They always kept in touch.

“When I would text her, it would be 30 seconds and there was a response,” Hunt said. “And I am like, ‘she’s the congresswoman. She’s busy. She’s on the house floor.’ Every once in awhile I’d see her on the house floor and I’d shoot her a text just to see if she’d actually respond... there’s no way she’ll respond. She responded during a State of the Union...You know, the last thing I ever said to her was, ‘Take care of yourself,’ with a heart emoji.”

Hunt opened an academy last year called the International Soccer Academy of America.

Jackie was there for the ribbon cutting.

“She didn’t have to come to the ribbon cutting of a tiny little school, but she did because she cared and those twenty kids mattered to her,” Hunt said.

Hunt shared what he will miss most.

“I am going to miss how she remembered everybody’s name,” he said. “And I just pray that whoever comes next will honor her legacy.”

Lucas Miles, a pastor and friend of Jackie’s said, “Today, our region experienced a devastating tragedy. Congresswoman Walorski was a shining light in this community and impacted thousands with her smile, firm handshake, and no nonsense politics.”

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