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Mark Ober - Artist, Dale McMillen - Everyday Star (B-1)

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Mark Ober
Professional Artist

Dale McMillen
Everyday Star

There is little question who the “Everyday Star” in my life was.  I was born and raised in Fort Wayne and have thus spent 57 years so far surrounded by the philanthropic influence of Mr. Dale McMillen Sr.  Known by tens of thousands of Fort Wayne areas residents as “Mr. Mac”, Dale set out to fulfill his own philosophy in which he stated, “We must pay some rent for the blessing and opportunities we enjoy while we’re here on this earth.”  My entire childhood was shaped by this generosity and yet this fact was pretty much unknown to me until I was in my late teens.  I grew up in the Village Woods area and was within walking and biking distance of McMillen Park.  The park was everything to me as a kid.  From walking and picnicking in the woods and going to the swimming pool in the spring, summer, and fall, to ice-skating, sledding, and building forts in the massive pile of Christmas trees prior to the annual “burning of the trees”; McMillen Park was my home.  The Fourth of July fireworks display was magical.  Practically our entire extended family made it a yearly event to drive in from as far away as Indianapolis and Dayton, Ohio to sit in folding chairs in our backyard and watch one of the best displays in the state.  His philanthropy was extended through his foundation and includes endowments at Indiana Tech and the establishment of the McMillen Health Center to name but a few.  But, in Mr. Mac’s own words he referred to the Wildcat Baseball League as “the greatest thing I ever did.”  To quote from the league’s website: “His motto reflects the spirit he wanted to pass on to our youth: This day I will beat my own record.”  I, too, played Wildcat Baseball several summers and thought it was a national organization, but as it turns out, it was completely Dale’s idea.  Mr. Mac would have no part in a baseball league that would not allow all children who wanted to play baseball to do so regardless of their abilities, race, creed, or religion.  Thus the inspiration for my painting is the image which represents the league and its motto of “Everybody Makes the Team”.  It is this motto that metaphorically tempers my own philosophy and the way I accept all the people I meet.