EHHS student Gunner Horton, founder of the charity Kids Making A Difference (KMAD) and recipient of the East Haven Mayor’s Merit Award for Community Service has made a huge impact on our town.
Gunner, at fifteen years old, is no stranger to giving a helping hand to those in need. At the age of eleven, Gunner’s father Lance and mother Sherry wanted to show Gunner issues that are happening in the real world. In order to allow Gunner to grasp real life, they contributed to an annual homeless rally on the New Haven Green with Jesse's Homeless Outreach Project (JHOP). After attending the rally and donating goods, Gunner was motivated to do more in the world. So they got to work and formed what is known as today as KMAD, Kids Making a Difference. KMAD helps those families who are not as fortunate. In June of the summer of 2014, KMAD held a shoe drive and was able to get 1,000 shoes donated.
Gunner’s efforts did not go unnoticed as he was awarded the prestigious East Haven Mayor’s Merit Award for Community Service on September 6, 2018. Gunner is the youngest recipient of the award. When asked about being the youngest recipient of this award Gunner said “It actually feels really good, to know that I am.” As a student, Gunner believes that community service is very important saying, “I think it’s really important because if you don’t have anybody else helping, who is?”
Gunner not only does things for his community, but he also participates in extracurricular activities in school. He plays football on the offensive line and is also part of the wrestling team here at EHHS. Head football coach Scott Benoit describes Gunner as, “a hard-working, conscientious kid.” Benoit also highlights the fact that Gunner is just a sophomore who has gained a lot of respect from his upper-class teammates.
Assistant coach to the wrestling team Mark Tolla talks fondly of Gunner. He said, “He is someone who works hard, makes good choices and is filled with excellent character.” Tolla continues, “He is respectful and a true leader amongst his peers.”
Fellow senior wrestling teammate Albert Doheny describes his ability on the mat as passive and uses words like “well rounded” and “strong” on the mat. Albert sees Gunner as a potential candidate for captain both his junior and senior year. “He’s a hard worker in both football and wrestling and I don’t see him not being a leader later on.”
Gunner Horton and his family have done a lot for this community. Gunner’s grandfather Earl R. Horton started the Gridiron Club, and Lance Horton, Gunner’s father, took on the presidency in 2010. Lance is also involved in a lot with sports in the town since he has made several donations, including equipment for East Haven Youth Football.
Gunner comes from a family who loves to help those who may not be as fortunate to help themselves. The Horton’s legacy will live on through Gunner and his accomplishments at such a young age.