Mac McGehee

By Julie Kerns Garmendia
Resident Community News

Mac McGehee and his wife Terri actively support and volunteer for several community organizations, including Project SOS, Inc. which they first started helping in the late 1990s. Mac, a strong believer in the mission of the organization and its founder, Pam Mullarkey, said the concept of reaching youth with positive life messages delivered by young adults close to their own age can transform lives. Project SOS also offers programs for couples and youth and celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

“I believe in SOS. Anyone who has been around kids and schools starts to see where some of them may not be getting everything they need, whether it be in academics or life lessons,” he said. “There is much more to a complete education than just arithmetic or English and as a father of three daughters doing the best I can to raise them I understand those challenges.”
McGehee has seen the Project SOS young adult-led assemblies reach exponential numbers of youth with messages he describes in two ways. First there is the importance of showing youth how to recognize what are the right choices in life, and then to give them the tools and information necessary to actually handle difficult situations or peer pressure.
“Teens today get enough wrong information about sex, alcohol and drugs. When I first was told about SOS I thought it was a great concept…why not help an organization that offers positive information and options. It’s not adults telling kids what to do, it is other young adults standing up and using skits or sharing their personal stories from the heart to reach out. It is impressive the number of kids SOS has reached in its 20-year history. The lessons they are sharing might not have ever been communicated if not for these programs going into the schools,” he said.

The McGehees are parents of three daughters Mackenzie,15, who is in ninth-grade, homeschooled and participates in Jacksonville K-Life youth activities and their older daughters Ashley Ann, 20 and Courtney, 25. The family has lived in the Lakewood area for ten years and also owns a horse farm on St. Augustine Road. Mac was born and raised in the Westside and cheerfully refers to himself as the redneck of the family. He is executive vice president of the family business, Mac Papers, Inc.
Eldest daughter Courtney also works at Mac Papers in the E Marketing Department. She is active in her church, The Church of Eleven 22, which started as a service at Beach United Methodist Church. Eleven 22 refers to the passage in the Bible, Mark 11:22: “…and Jesus answered…have faith in God.”

Mac may describe himself as the bona fide redneck but Terri grew up riding horses and manages their horse barn where out of the 20 horses, half are theirs and the rest are boarders. Daughter Ashley Ann rides for Baylor University Equestrian Team, Division 1 NCAA/Hunter Seat. Her team holds the 2012 National Collegiate Equestrian Championship title.
The McGehees support several community organizations: St. Vincent’s Foundation, Florida State College Scholarships, Campus Crusade for Christ, Athletes in Action, First Coast Women’s Services, K Life Jacksonville, American Heart Association, Dreams Come True and their church Christian Family Chapel.

During his free time Mac enjoys club racing with the Porsche Club of America, primarily Porsche GT3 Cup Cars and more recently in the Grand Am Continental Tire Sports Car Series in his Porsche Boxster. He has also participated and raced in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“Terri and I believe that we have been blessed far beyond our needs and that God has given us opportunities so that we may help others,” Mac said. “We strongly believe in the Bible’s principles as a blueprint for living and as the foundation behind what we support and teach our children. We strive to support like-minded organizations.”
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Project SOS will hold a comedy and dining fundraiser, Twenty Years of Growing Great Generations of Youth, Mar. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Sawgrass Marriott Hotel. The evening will also include entertainment with a silent and live auction in support of Project SOS programs.
For tickets, group reservations or more information visit the website at rojectsos.com or call (904) 296-9950.

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