Former Liberty County Commission Chairman John D. McIver was honored Friday evening in a ceremony marking the dedication of the newly remodeled auditorium at the Liberty County Community Complex in Midway.
The auditorium was named for McIver in honor of his years of service to Liberty County, first as mayor of Riceboro and later as commission chairman.
Civic leaders, community members, family and friends — approximately 70 people, all told — gathered in the auditorium to hear remarks from McIver, his colleagues and family members. The ceremony was heavy with religious sentiment, a testament to McIver’s personal convictions.
Following an invocation by the Rev. James Shipman, Hinesville program coordinator Daisy Jones performed a solo rendition of “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Remarks then were offered by Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway; Commissioner Marion Stevens; Midway Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington; Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas; McIver’s son, Timothy McIver; and, finally, McIver himself.
“I’m a little bit lost for words right now,” McIver said as he took the podium. “Normally, I don’t get choked up, but I feel a little bit that way. Having this auditorium named in my honor really lets me know that my 31 years of public service have really been appreciated.”
The dedication of the auditorium in McIver’s name was especially moving given the facility’s history.
The east-end Liberty County Community Complex is the site of the former Liberty County High School, which served black community members before integration in 1972. McIver, Williams, Stevens and Washington all are graduates of the old Liberty County High.
“Some of us have forgotten, and it’s so easy to slip,” Williams remarked. “But, my goodness — it wasn’t even thought of, or possible, when this building was built.”
“This is a great day for the city of Midway and Liberty County — a day that will forever be etched in our hearts and our minds,” Washington added.
Current Commission Chairman Donald Lovette also commended McIver for his numerous accomplishments.
“I say he brought Riceboro into the modern age,” Lovette said.
Thomas shared a humorous anecdote about the buzz McIver generated when the pair traveled to China for a delegation.
“People kept asking to take pictures with him,” Thomas said. “Everywhere we went, young ladies, young men, they all wanted a picture with him … and what they thought, they said, ‘This is Morgan Freeman.’”
County Administrator Joey Brown, who hosted the ceremony, also offered warm sentiments. Brown said that he got to know McIver as a young boy, when his father worked with McIver through his tenure as Riceboro’s mayor.
“I just want to tell Mr. John, on my behalf, thank you so much for all the mentoring you gave me,” Brown said.
McIver served as mayor of Riceboro from 1978-2000. He then served three terms as commission chairman, from 2002-12. McIver is “credited for supporting the complex renovation from its inception to its completion,” according to a previous Courier report.