DARIEN — Ask anyone around town if they know Darien VFW commander Leonard “Lenny” Hunter and the answer is probably yes. According to Hunter’s longtime friend Phil Kraft almost everyone he talks to knows Hunter.

“He’s the epitome of beloved,” Kraft said. “They throw the word that so and so was beloved, but he truly is. Everyone who knows him. I’m constantly surprised by the people who say ‘oh yeah, Lenny, I know him.”

Now Kraft, who befriended Hunter when Kraft became a VFW commander back in 2000, is asking for the support from all those who love Hunter. Hunter, a Vietnam War veteran, is in stable condition at St. Vincent’s Medical Center after being hit by a car Sept. 12 while working as a crossing guard in Bridgeport.

Kraft says Hunter is characterized by his willingness to help other.

“He always steps forward to help us at the VFW,” Kraft said. “And whenever he’d do his duty as a crossing guard, then he goes immediately after to a veterans support center in Bridgeport and he handled the food bank.”

However, Hunter didn’t make it to the center on the morning of Sept. 12 around 8 a.m. when a car drove over the curb at the intersections of Park and North avenues and struck Hunter as well as fellow crossing guard Idalyn Vargas.

According to Kraft, 68-year-old Hunter has undergone two surgeries since Tuesday morning, including an hours-long surgery on Thursday night to help mend his two broken legs.

“I talked to his daughter this morning,” Kraft said Friday. “He made it through surgery. The break on both legs was in the lower part of the leg and this morning they had him sitting in a chair. He was groggy, but he was sitting in a chair. When you’ve got two broken legs, there’s going to be a lot of rehab. It’s going be a long one, but he’s out of surgery and he’s awake, he’s lucid.”

In addition to two broken legs, Kraft said Hunter also suffered broken ribs and a fractured skull from being dragged around 25 to 30 feet by the vehicle.

Kraft said Hunter is surrounded by families and friends to help him through recovery. He said Hunter comes from a large, local family, including four brothers who also served in Vietnam. But he decided to put together a GoFundMe to help support the family after people kept looking to him for ways to help.

“I’ve gotten calls people saying ‘so what can I do, is there anything he needs are you going to do a GoFundMe?” Kraft said.

More Information

To donate to Hunter’s recovery, visit https://www.gofundme.com/lenny-hunter-fund

Kraft added the VFW collected money at their monthly meeting on Wednesday and the post office is also looking to help with funds. Within an hour of being launched, over $500 had already been donated to Hunter’s page.

“His family said he has insurance,” Kraft said. “But there’s always that in between stuff. That’s what this project is for.”

ekayata@hearstmediact.com; @erin_kayata