Hunter's Story

Hunter Garner had a dry wit, a wicked sense of humor and a creative mind. He loved music, running and had many friends from all walks of life. He died in a car crash on June 10, 2007. He was 16 years old.

Hunter was my first born, my only son. I pretty much died that day too; the moment we got the news of the crash that killed him and his good friend, the driver of the car. It had the same impact on my husband, Lowell and our daughter, Alex. Needless to say, we are forever changed.

As a legacy to Hunter, we founded Project Yellow Light - a short film scholarship competition created to honor him and to put a stop to one of the leading causes of death – car crashes. Now, the scholarship has grown from a film competition to include billboard and radio.

There is no one better than you to warn your peers of the dangers of distracted driving. You can communicate with one another in a voice and in a way that resonates and connects. You have a powerful, sincere voice that has a huge impact. You can make a difference.

And what better way to influence your friends and peers than with a message you create, using the similar wonderful imagination and creativity Hunter possessed.

If there's anything I can get across to you, it’s this: Please know how much you’re loved. How much you mean to so many. Don’t throw away your future because of a bad decision. Have fun and experience life to the fullest - just don’t do stupid things. If Hunter was around, he’d tell you the same thing.

I can’t bring Hunter back, but I can save others from meeting the same fate. So I will do everything in my power to keep you from harm.

Please add your voice to Project Yellow Light, and keep young people like Hunter where they belong — in our lives.

Julie Garner

Founder, Project Yellow Light

Remembering Hunter

I met Hunter my freshman year of high school and he was my best friend. If Hunter were here today I'd tell him that his smile could brighten anyone's day and that just being around him made you happy. I wish I knew what college Hunter went to, who he'd date, if he was in a fraternity, who his best friend was.... I'd want him to know that he changed my life in so many ways and I wouldn't be the person I am today without him. He taught me to not take things so seriously and to cherish every day and just live; take chances and have no regrets.

Kody Blank

My name is Taylor McCrary, I first met Hunter when he was a freshman in high school. He was a good looking guy with style, and a mouth to back it all up. We instantly were good pals, always hanging out when we were able, enjoying our adolescence. The times we shared are treasured memories to me, our time was short lived as friends here on earth. If Hunter was still here today I'd tell him.....That he's growing up to be the man I knew he would, I'd tell him let's go get Chipotle tomorrow, then watch a movie. I'd tell him that I am on a good track, that I'm going to make something of myself, and that no matter where life may take me that we'll always remain in contact. I'd tell him that he means the world to me whether he knows it or not, that he's one of my closest friends and even though there's a lot I don't know that I know I will always remember you and the presence you held when you were in a room, how you could hold yourself so well and that you're an overall amazing person. I love you Hunter Garner.

Taylor McCrary

My name is Hannah Lancaster and I first got to know Hunter during our freshman year of high school because we were in the same algebra class. We became close friends and I always loved to be around him because of his sense of humor and there was something about him that drew people to him. In class he would write me silly notes and poems just to get a laugh out of me and I will always remember going to soccer and football games with him. I admired his wittiness but there was also an intense and serious side to him that made me think he was older than me at times.

If Hunter were here today, I would tell him how great of a person and friend he was (even though he would look at me funny and make a joke out of it) and tell him how much I miss him. He truly was one of a kind and I still haven't found anyone who makes me laugh the way he did. This scholarship is a great way to remember Hunter and to educate young people on the serious dangers of reckless/inexperienced driving.

Hannah Lancaster

I'm Michael Ferguson and I first met Hunter in my 7th grade home room class, he came in a week or so late that year, and his dad brought him in with a broken arm. I didn't start talking or hanging out with him till the middle of the year, and from then on we hung out every weekend till his death. He was one of my best friends, and he truly was a brother to me and was part of my family; as I felt like I was part of his. I still think about him daily, and always see a part of him in every one of my friends today. His sarcastic sense of humor is something I gained from him, and I'll never forget the way he put his heart and soul into being the best friend he could possibly be. If he were alive today, there is no doubt in my mind that we would still be best friends. I'm not sure exactly what I would tell him because there's so much that he's missed and it really pains me that we never got to experience the last four plus years together. He would have been successful in whatever he wanted; he had that certain no quit, and never take anything for-granted approach to life that was contagious.

I miss him dearly.

Michael Ferguson

My name is Trevor Mills and I first met Hunter during my freshman year at high school. Hunter was simply the cool guy.

He truly was enjoying every day to the best he could. Hunter, behind his glances and cool kid exterior truly did have a lot of love to give to people. No matter how grumpy he seemed to be from time to time, at the end of the day he would still have your back no matter what.

If Hunter were here today, I would simply say thank you. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the love of life. Thank you for giving me the courage to challenge myself. Thank you for showing me how to live life to its fullest every single day. Thank you for showing that “Hunter-only” style of friendship that affected everyone he came in contact with. I would tell him that he meant more to everyone around him than he ever knew. I would tell him I wish it didn’t take what it did for my eyes to open up and there is nothing I can give back that would ever repay him for the lessons he taught me. Not a day goes by that I don’t give thanks for the fire that he sparked in my life. I would also say that he left behind a family that loved you more than anything and have the courage to ensure that his name lives on as a lesson for many other teenagers. Finally, I would say thank you for being a part of my life that I will never forget and will always cherish. The beauty of it is that I think a lot of other people who knew Hunter would say the same exact thing, he was truly a loving person.

Laugh Louder, Party Harder, Love Longer and remember that life is too short to give a....

Trevor Mills

My name is Gannon Reilly and I first met Hunter in 7th grade and even though I knew him for a short four years, I still consider him one of the best friends I have ever had.

If Hunter were here today I would simply tell him thank you. Thank you for showing me how to laugh, smile and love. Thank you for showing me not to care what people think about you. Thank you for showing me how to live and thank you for providing me with so many great memories that I will never forget and that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Thank you for being a great friend. Thank you for always being yourself. And thank you for making me the man I am today.

Gannon Reilly

I first knew Hunter in elementary school, met him when he was new in 2nd or 3rd grade and instantly became best friends. If Hunter was here today,I would tell him how much he has shaped my life to this day. Not a day goes by that I don’t wear his remembrance bracelet, and every decision I make has been influenced by him. He was honestly one of my best friends in elementary and middle school, and I would do anything to have him back on this planet today. I love him so much.