By JUDD WILSON
HAYDEN — Mac McCarty, head custodian at Hayden Meadows Elementary School, was honored Wednesday with a day all his own. By order of Hayden Mayor Steve Griffitts, Wednesday was “Mr. Mac Day” in Hayden.
For the past 11 years, McCarty has raised the U.S. flag early in the morning each school day, and overseen the fifth-graders who lower and fold the flag in the afternoon.
Three of those students — Nalan Tuttle, Jack LeBreck and Casey Dolan — became instantly famous last month thanks to a viral photo of their care for the flag.
After recognizing the boys’ demonstration of patriotism, city officials recognized McCarty with a proclamation, pictures, and a round of applause during the City Council meeting Tuesday night.
Principal Lisa Pica said students at Hayden Meadows celebrated “Mr. Mac Day” on Wednesday with a rendition of “Happy Mr. Mac Day” to the tune of “Happy Birthday.” Pica said McCarty is an example to students for many reasons.
“Mr. Mac is someone who served in the military, represents veterans, and someone whom we want students to respect,” she said. “He shows respect through the subtle things he does every day. I want our students to know his past and to follow his example in the way he treats people, and the way he treats the flag.”
McCarty is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He spent 17 of those years in maintenance, and the remainder in computer security, he said. He oversees all the custodians at Hayden Meadows and serves on Pica’s administrative team, including its safety protocols.
“He goes far beyond his official title,” Pica said.
Griffitts’ proclamation called on residents to “let Mr. Mac be our example, strive to show our respect and dedication to the United States of America, and to make a positive impact on our youth.”
McCarty was reluctant to receive public recognition, but said he was glad to treat the flag with respect. His father was a Marine, his grandfather was in the Navy, and his brother served in Vietnam as a soldier, he said.
“There’s not a single veteran that wouldn’t treat the flag with a lot of respect,” he said. “I want to respect and honor those people.”
McCarty said the secret of his success was to surround himself with people who care.
“That was in the service and that’s here as well,” he added.