By Tracy McNew
Art, advocacy or adventure, whatever the task, Hunter Jordan is ready and willing to step up to it.
Hunter is a 17-year old sophomore at Troy Public Schools, he’s the youngest of three children and he lives a relatively normal teenage life. With his positive attitude, friendly demeanor, and willingness to work hard for success, his parents should be proud and they are.
Hunter was born without a left hand, but his parents have never treated him like he has a disability and he hasn’t let it hold him back.
Danita, Jordan’s mom told the Montanian that the family has never treated him as disabled. He’s had the same responsibilities and had to meet the same expectations as his siblings. She does acknowledge though, that he is abled differently than others.
Hunter doesn’t view himself as having a disability. “If I think I can’t do something it’s a disability,” he told The Montanian, “but I decided to think I can so I do.”
On Saturday, May 5, Jordan proved his point. He went to Big Fork, Mont. to participate in the Spartan Montana Beast and Sprint Weekend.
Spartan races are built to be challenging. According to their website, “Spartan is more than a race; it’s a way of life. We believe that you can’t have a strong body without a strong mind, that you can’t grow without pressure, that obstacles help shift our frame of reference and make us more resilient.”
The Spartan ideal resonated with Jordan. He told The Montanian that he heard about Spartan races and really wanted to prove that he could do it so he did.
“I think it goes to show that anyone can do this whether they’re in the best shape or not, or even if they’re missing a limb,” he said.
Hunter finished the three mile long race in a respectable two hours and 21 minutes alongside hundreds of others whose times ranged from one hour four minutes to six hours three minutes.
Obstacles included lots of mud, scaling five, six and ten foot walls, a log carry, trail run, fire jump, and a multi rig area.
The multi rig is a type of monkey bar obstacle, Jordan said, and “monkey bars are about the only thing I can’t do.” He had to do burpees instead of the multi rig to get through the race, but he did it and completed every obstacle on the course.
Covered in mud, Hunter Jordan poses with a medal for finishing the Spartan race last month in Big Fork
Danita Jordan told The Montanian, “The compliments and encouragement he received at the end of the race were amazing.”
Another participant told Jordan that he had a hard time finishing the race with two hands and that he really admired Jordan.
He was called an inspiration by other participants, and he was told that nothing can stop him.
“It was pretty amazing to us as his parents,” his mom said, “he’s been able to achieve and do everything that he’s wanted to.”
Hunter appreciated the positive feedback too of course. He admitted that it feels good to be an inspiration to others. “I’m a big advocate of working out and helping others to do it too,” he said.
Hunter plans to complete two additional Spartan races so that he can earn the trifecta medal. He also encourages anyone with an interest in participating to challenge themselves and sign up for a Spartan race.
“If you’re interested, I’d say to go ahead and go for it,” he said.
Hunter is not just interested in physical fitness. He also enjoys art and being part of Troy’s art club as well as being actively involved in the Lincoln County Unite for Youth Coalition. He joined a small group of local student leaders earlier this year who had an opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. as advocates for substance abuse prevention.
When asked what he plans to do with his future Hunter said that he’d either like to double major in athletic training and business or become a pottery teacher.
When asked about pottery he was happy to show some of his work. “I call them my nub mugs.” he said, “I put my nub in and roll the clay up. It’s a perfect fit.”
Being open about his missing hand seems to come natural for Jordan. It really isn’t weird being around new people, he said, “but a lot of people stare. I want them to just ask me what happened.”
Hunter has had lots of prosthetics including some made for specific activities like swimming, but he chooses not to wear them most of the time, partially because he’s still growing.
Someday, he said, he would like to get a myoelectric hand which looks like a natural hand and uses the body’s own neuromuscular system to control movements.
A mug inspired by Roman ruins made by Jordan. Photos courtesy of the Jordan family.