ELKIN, N.C. – Across the Piedmont, there's a growing support system for a Wilkes County eighth grader following a horrific crash.
On Friday, Hunter Brown from Central Wilkes Middle School was hit by a tour bus crossing the road. He was on a class field trip in Washington, D.C., on Friday. He's getting support from people across Wilkes County - and now from elsewhere.
Pam Colbert doesn't know Hunter Brown. She doesn't know his family - nor does she work at his school. She's the principal at Elkin Elementary in Surry County.
But after almost 30 years as an educator and administrator, she can only imagine what the last couple days have been like for Hunter's family, teachers, and fellow students.
“I keep going back to you I can't imagine when you have to be the one to make the call to a parent… How difficult that had to of been for whoever made it. Because it's on a call that any of us would want to make or receive,” she said.
Since the accident, Hunter has been in a hospital there in critical condition.
Now, Colbert believes actions speak louder than words. So, she put out a call to action to other principals in the area – and calling it ‘Hats for Hunter.’
“I sent out a plea. I said attention principals, this has happened, how can we band together as a group of educators and help this student. Let's have a hat day!” Colbert said.
The message spread quickly. School systems from Alleghany and Wilkes County to Elkin and Mount Airy City Schools will choose one day this week when students can pay a dollar to wear a hat - something they wouldn't normally be able to do. All money collected will go to Hunter and his family.
Elkin Elementary will hold their hat day on Wednesday.
“We talk a lot about school district and school boundaries but really, caring has no boundaries. You know these are our children, and they're all going to be in this community and in our state. So we care for all of them even if we don't know them personally,” said Colbert.
Colbert says as a former middle school teacher, she's taken that same trip to DC many times before. She says those memories, fears and worries, coupled with the accident, prompted her to start ‘Hats for Hunter.’