August was designated as What Will Be Your Legacy Month. That, combined with the recent death of my mother, caused me to start thinking about my own legacy and what I hope to leave behind.
The common definition of legacy usually refers to money or property left behind for family and future generations. For me, I think a lasting legacy is far greater and can impact the lives of so many beyond our own family. A lasting legacy speaks to the things you do during your life and determines how people will remember you.
It might do each of us some good to spend just a little time reflecting on our past and present - and quite possibly look at ways we can each positively impact our community and future generations.
I know that’s deep and a lot to think about, but worthy of your time.
You might start by asking - what have you done in your life that has positively impacted your community? If you don’t like the answer, it’s okay, because you still have time to make a difference in the lives of others.
Go ahead and ask yourself another question - what can I do starting today or tomorrow to positively impact my community and future generations? Everyone has special gifts, and I think that is a good place to start. We each need to identify our special gifts and give them freely to the community in some big or small way.
You may be an artist who can paint a mural on that drab concrete building near the entrance to the city on Highway 100 to promote Fairview pride.
You may have people skills allowing you to organize a community event to raise funds for a worthy cause.
You may be a salesman with the ability to help sell Fairview to a prospective manufacturing plant to generate more jobs.
In recent years, Fairview has said goodbye to some amazing individuals who left behind a lasting legacy of community service like John and Gerri Stark, Mary Clinard and Dan Kubit. And while I truly appreciate all those amazing individuals, the man who tops the list as a community servant for me remains Mr. Mac McGehee.
Sadly, many of you may have never heard of him. Mr. Mac, who passed away in June 2008, was a true community servant. His gifts are still being enjoyed by many who don’t even know his name. What surprises me the most is that the majority of his gifts were given to this community after he retired when most only seek out rest and relaxation.
He retired in the late 1970s after working 42 years with Swift & Company. He then moved to Fairview where his joy in his retirement years came from sharing his many gifts with his community. He gave the gift of his time and knowledge by serving on many boards from local to state government. He also constructed picnic tables and bird houses for Bowie Nature Park. He raised funds for nonprofits and helped start the chamber of commerce. The list of his gifts is long. The legacy he left behind is something so many of us benefit from today – and something each of us should attempt to pay forward.
The Fairview City Commission proclaimed August 1, 1989 “Mr. Mac Day” and set aside that day to honor C.L. McGehee for his service and dedication to the Fairview community. The proclamation also stated that on August 1 each year the city would recognize an individual who has demonstrated the same service and dedication.
While the “Mr. Mac Day” recognition has fallen by the wayside since 1989, there is an opportunity to revive the civic spirit Mr. Mac exemplified. We each can start today and find a way to make Fairview an even better place to live – and leave a beautiful and lasting legacy.
Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there remain ways we can each share our gifts and start taking steps to leave behind a lasting legacy.