Meet Mack Amick, member of the HubCulture Board and all-around go-getter in Spartanburg. He’s a voice you should know because he’s a man that does. He acts on his passions, and you’ve surely seen him around town–particularly at the Little River Coffee Bar in the mornings.
What brought you to Spartanburg? And why do you stay?
Actually, I am a native. I left after high school (1966) and returned 25 years later after college, graduate school and a career in the Navy–our Navy, that is. Job offers and family brought me back and family has a lot to do with why we stay. But also, Spartanburg is on the move in many areas and I want to be a part of it.
What do you do for a living and for fun?
Technically, I am retired–from the Navy as a Nurse Corps Officer and health care administrator and with Spartanburg Regional as Director of Occupational Health and their Minor Care. I will complete a 6-year term on the HubCulture Board at the end of 2011 (9 years in all). And I just started a 3-year stint as a member of Spartanburg’s new Advisory Committee on Bicycle and Pedestrian issues. I stay active in my profession. My mom and mom-in-law are still living and my wife, Patty, and I have 4 adult children and 5 grand kids between us (with another on the way). The term, “retirement,” is a misnomer!
For fun I like to bicycle, hike, travel and keep my Spanish-speaking skills tuned up. When I travel to a new or unfamiliar location, one of the first things I do is seek out a good local coffee shop and/or wine bar, if they are available. That’s one of the best places to find out what’s going on in the community and what to see and do.
What did you think when you first heard about HUB-BUB?
I wasn’t quite sure what to think at first. It began somewhat under wraps with mysterious “Hub-Bub.com” sidewalk signage all over town. But soon it was apparent that this was revolutionary–-an organization that celebrated the arts with action and support for the arts in our community. Plus, very few organizations across the US had visions of doing it quite like we were about to do it–with a publishing house in the beginning, soon followed by an artist-in-residence program and entertainment wing, as well–vis-à-vis The Showroom. (That’s why people from all over the country come here to see how we implement all that HUB-BUB does.)
If you were to make a loud noise on The Showroom stage, what would it sound like?
I do a great imitation of a lawn sprinkler at various noise levels that is quite impressive.
Tell us about one of your passions.
I have two passions–besides my family, that is. 1) There are many great things to celebrate about the US. But the denial of health care and vital health care services to people because they cannot afford it or the insurance to help offset the cost is a blemish on our health care system. I do not have all the answers but I am passionate about this issue and know we can do better by working to make sure every American has access to affordable health care. 2) I am equally passionate about the fact that bigotry and the denial of equal access is alive and well–in fairness, not just in the US, of course. But the US should be one of the leaders in making sure one’s gender, sexual preference, culture and race are not a barrier to equal opportunity. After all, that is what we are supposed to stand for as a country that was founded on those principles. We still have a long way to go to guarantee inclusiveness, acceptance and equal legal guarantees for all.
What is your advice to people who want to get involved in their community?
I have lived and/or worked in many other parts of the US as well as in other countries and cultures. And no matter where I was, I found that one of the best ways to fold into the community is through volunteer work. The list of opportunities is endless; from volunteering in health care to working with kids, to volunteering with a local civic or non-profit group, to working in a political campaign. No matter where one gets involved, the advantages cut both ways. They help the organization for which one is volunteering and allow the volunteer to meet new people, make a difference and be rewarded all at the same time.
What’s your favorite thing about Spartanburg?
The arts are alive and well in Spartanburg, especially for a city of this size. And the bicycling community has taken off like wild fire. We are actually ahead of most cities in the southeast in our initiatives on cycling.
Anything else you want the world to know?
There are some really great people in this diverse community in which we live and work. It would be a shame to miss out on getting to know and work with some of them. A friend of mine used to say, “Anything worth doing is worth over doing.” There’s a lot of merit in that approach to life.