More than just a recreation director, Gary McJunkin is affectionately known to many as "Mr. Mac," a man who continues to be an inspirational mentor and friend.
His impact and legacy was obvious when more than 100 friends recently came to honor him at the Felix C. Davis Community Center in North Charleston.
The city's recreation department hosted a celebration for McJunkin's 55-plus years of commitment, dedication and contributions to the city and its residents.
He also has been known for his longtime affiliation with Dixie Youth Baseball, which includes 14 years as state director, 11 years as national director and two years as commissioner, and he continues to be involved as the program's secretary.
"Dixie baseball has been a great love of my life," McJunkin said addressing his friends, some of whom he hadn't seen for more than 30 years.
He added that during his career, it wasn't all about being a recreation director but about being involved in people's lives in so many ways.
"I've been involved in people's life, and they've been involved in my life," he said to the gathering. "Because of that, life has been good to me."
McJunkin became director of the Cooper River Parks and Playground Commission in 1967. While administering North Charleston's recreation program, he oversaw the building of ball fields and playgrounds and developed a robust list of recreational activities.
Even when funds were scarce, McJunkin coordinated thousands of volunteers to give countless hours to the building of facilities and programs.
During the event, dozens of quotes lined the community center's walls, all thanking Mr. Mac and telling how he had positively affected their lives. As one person said, "Thank you Mr. Mac for living your life for others. ... On the baseball field of life, you are truly the 'diamond.' "