Mobile Bar Association President Pete Mackey’s November Comments

President’s Comments

Mobile Bar Association President Pete Mackey

Mobile Bar Association President Pete Mackey

The MOBILE BAR FOUNDATION, our charitable arm, was established in 1994 as a Section 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It supports programs that improve the legal system, the administration of justice and the betterment of the legal profession in our local community. Historically, it has been funded through annual membership donations, fundraisers and contributions from individuals and organizations. Last year, the Foundation distributed $50,000, the most in its history. BRYAN COMER, the Foundation’s new president, has a goal of distributing $100,000 per year. If you do the math, you can see that he is aiming to at least double its size.

This organization does not get the credit it deserves. rough outstanding leadership, the fund has enjoyed steady but unspectacular growth. There has been a fundraiser or two and there has always been a flurry of donations in honor of fallen members. The largest number of donations in honor of one member occurred recently when a hero of mine, BOYD REEVES, passed away. Apparently he was a hero to a lot of us.

What the Foundation has been looking for, however, is a big splash – something to get it in the public eye and raise a lot of money at the same time. Well … there is a new day. Persistence and attention to detail, thy name is the HONORABLE DON DAVIS. JUDGE DAVIS has become a triathlete in recent years, having determined that kickboxing was not a socially acceptable sport for an Alabama judge any more. Newly toned and fit through an insane (pun may or may not be intended) workout regimen, he decided a year ago that the perfect fundraiser would be to put on the first triathlon in Mobile County history. He was told by veteran triathlon organizers that getting 100 entrants for an inaugural would be a home run. Undaunted, Judge Davis and his committee launched TRI-THE-GULF.

Working 27 hour days the committee, led by JUDGE DAVIS JEAN POWERS, JUAN ORTEGA, CHRIS ESTES, GUS FONTENOT, DANIEL DENNIS, IV, BRANDY HAMBRIGHT, BRYAN COMER and ROGER COLE – crushed it. A special shout out goes to BRANDY, JEAN, CHRIS and BRYAN, but the entire committee did a yeoman’s job. And it does not stop there. You could not swing a dead nutria without hitting a volunteer who was shoveling sand off of the transition area, manning a spot on the bike course or dispensing food and drink. Registrations were cut off at 300, though a local noted triathlete told me that another 100 would have entered had they been able to. By all accounts, the event was a huge success. Most importantly, it resulted in the largest single donation in the Foundation’s history – a little more than $35,000. The committee is already in the planning stages for 2017, and they are optimistic. “We are thrilled with the success of TRI-THE-GULF, especially for the first year. If we can continue to sustain a donations increase from all of our fundraising efforts, we hope to expand the reach of our grants to better serve the community,” Bryan told me.

Special thanks go out to the PRESENTING SPONSOR, MOBILE INFIRMARY HEALTH; CORPORATE SPONSORS WIND CREEK CASINO & HOTEL and BURR FORMAN, LLP; PLATINUM SPONSORS ROBERTS BROTHERS REALTY, THE ADMIRAL HOTEL AND WHOLE FOODS MARKET; GOLD SPONSORS JOE ZARZAUR LAW, P.A., SIROTE, ENCORE REHABILITATION, INC., TOBIAS, MCCORMICK & COMER, LLC, ARMBRECHT JACKSON, LLP, and the DAUPHIN ISLAND FOUNDATION; and many, many others. If you have not done so already, fire up your computer and head over to One of the many things you will see are the beautiful trophies made and donated by retired member LARRY SIMS, a past president of both this Association and the Foundation and now a noted local potter. Thanks, Larry.

Oh – I almost forget. There were more than 20 lawyers who competed, though watching them cross the finish line made one wonder why they did so. On the other hand, what better excuse is there for eating half of an apple pie at 10 in the morning and then dropping off for a two-hour nap?

If the Foundation fund can reach the point where the annual distribution exceeds $100,000, it will be a feat that few bar foundations have achieved. In order to get there, however, it will need help. Your annual dues, donations and gifts go a long way, as does Tri-the-Gulf. But there is also another way to leave your legacy on this bar – consider the Foundation in your estate planning. What better way to honor your proud career? We are only a few eccentric millionaires away from making this happen.

The take away? This is a great example of how lawyers can show that they are good by doing good. The general public has no idea of the pro bono hours that MBA members donate each year to making this community a better place to live in. We do not do nearly the public relations job that we should in this regard. So either strap on your training gear and start getting in shape for next year or volunteer to be part of the fun putting this on again. I think I am going for option B, but apple pie and a nap sound pretty good, as well.




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