Date: August 9, 2008
About: Bob Mays - Class of 1938
By honoring Mays, Park District shows importance of service
BOB Mays was honored Friday as a city park was named for him by the Quincy Park District where he spent 30 years as commissioner and years more on a foundation board.
Mays, surrounded by family, touted the importance of civic service.
"You do what you can for your fellow man," Mays said.
Mays served along with four other commissioners on what has become known as the "Long Board" which served from 1947 to 1976. Mays is the only surviving member from that board and the last to have a park or other facility named after him. The other members of the park board were Robert G. Bangert, Derrick "Boots" Bush, G. Arthur Keller and Don Kesler.
In addition to his time on the park board, Mays has served on the Park Board Foundation.
His contributions have involved more than time. Mays donated more than $50,000 to the foundation nearly 10 years ago.
Mike Parks, executive director of the Quincy Park District, said he remains in awe of the Long Board and the expansion of park facilities under their watch. The district added the Moorman and Wavering Park complex and the sports facility now known as Boots Bush Park. Members sought to establish parks in every neighborhood in the city and set up maintenance and operations arms for the expanding system.
"These commissioners served without salary or compensation. They were doing it for all the right reasons. I consider that the purest form of volunteerism," Parks said.
While Mays is the last of the Long Board to be honored with a park in his name, he is the only one of the honorees still alive. He remains actively involved in the community, and it is fitting that the Park Board honored him at this time.
In acknowledging the honor, Mays spoke of the importance of collaboration and cooperation in moving a community forward.
"I know there are Republicans and there are Democrats," Mays, now 86, said, "but when you're working on parks you can bring the whole community together to work on things we all want."
Public service is both a noble calling and a practical endeavor.
The Long Board -- far into the future -- will stand as an example of such service at its best and a model for all those who want to help their communities thrive and grow.