I recently wrote an article about a man named David Meckley. "Meck," as his friends call him, has had a busy life. He has donned several different hats during his 47 years.

He began his career in the public arena working behind the scenes as a sound engineer for traveling evangelical shows. A fan of sports, Meck has been associated with several networks including Fox Sports. He has been a sports writer and for several years hosted a radio talk show from his home is Dothan, Alabama.

A mutual friend said that, "Meck would consider himself a nobody, but he knows everybody." Meck would dispute that he knows everybody, but he admits that he does have a lot of friends and acquaintances. He is on a first name basis with several of the Atlanta Braves, including manager Bobby Cox and catcher Javier Lopez. His black book also lists recent Hall of Famer Gary Carter, as well as future Hall hopefuls Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton.

He has interviewed sportscaster Bob Costas and Boston lead singer Brad Delp and has worked closely with former United States President Jimmy Carter on a couple of tourism projects.

Meck makes his living today in the video production industry, producing instructional and inspirational sports videos as well as commercials.

So what does a man with a powerful black book do with it? You would think that with a list of friends as influential as those, Meck could get anything he wanted.

Well, he usually does. The surprise here is that Meck wants things for other people. For example, a few years ago Meck's radio show had a fund-raiser for 11-year old Chris Gatlin who was suffering from leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. Meck contacted major league players Tony Gywnn, Fred McGriff and Ron Gant and asked for autographed bats. Eventually Meck collected 21 bats, which were auctioned off for more than $15,000.

Then there was another fund-raiser for the widow and daughter of slain Braves player Dave Shotkowski who was killed during spring training of 1995. Again, with the help and donations of autographed gear from numerous professional athletes, Meck raised more than $36,000 in a day.

What brought Meck to Tifton was a benefit speaking engagement following a golf tournament fund-raiser for the Georgia Methodist Children's Home. Once again he showed up with some Braves gear and some game tickets to auction off. More than $2,000 was raised for the children.

While David Meckley is not a superstar athlete with a household name, he carries the weight of one, for he gives his most valuable asset to others. That asset is time.

In fact giving time is the theme of most of his speeches. It is Meck's philosophy that T.I.M.E. spells L.O.V.E.

Meck even went so far as to ask singer/songwriter Eddie Carswell (the son of Tifton resident Viola Johnson) to write a song with the same theme. Carswell wrote the No. 1 song "Christmas Shoes." The new theme song can be heard on Meckley's instructional videos.

I mentioned earlier that Meckley's friends call him "Meck." And you've noticed that I have referred to him as Meck throughout this column. Following a telephone interview and an afternoon on the golf course, I now have a new addition to my black book.

And that's a pretty strong entry, especially if I need someone to give me a little time.

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