A party at the pool — for Mickle, residents


Andrew R. Mickle applauds during the Operation Respect Yourself pool party and celebration in his honor at Mickle Pool.

MATT STAMEY/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 2:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 2:40 p.m.

Ninety-two-year-old Andrew R. Mickle was all smiles Saturday while being serenaded by 12-year-old singer Dani MacKinzie at a pool party to celebrate his more than 55 years of teaching residents young and old how to swim in Gainesville and Alachua County.

Standing just outside the fence of the pool named in his honor at the T.B. McPherson Recreation Center, Mickle held hands with Dani as she sang one of her original songs, “I’m a Believer.”

“They are getting ready to go on tour, and they charge big-time to tour, but they brought this to Gainesville for free because Mr. Mickle is such an awesome person,” said Doris Edwards, moments after Dani serenaded Mickle. Dani and her parents, Adrian Lumpkins and Sherry Newton Lumpkins, moved from Newberry in 2010 to Atlanta to advance Dani’s singing career.

Edwards is chair of the Lincoln Estates Neighborhood Watch, which organized the event in conjunction with Operation Respect Yourself sponsored by the city of Gainesville Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and the Gainesville Police Department. Operation Respect Yourself allows children and teens to enjoy free food, fun and swimming at city pools at three events during the summer.

The event at Mickle Pool drew more than 200 people, with nearly 30 of them, mostly children, participating in a flashmob dance to such songs as “The Twist,” “Can’t Touch This,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing” and others. A flashmob dance is a group of people briefly dancing in public before quickly dispersing.

The event also featured a brief program with Gainesville Mayor Ed Braddy reading a proclamation to declare June 15, 2013, as Andrew Mickle Day in Gainesville, remarks by Gainesville City Commissioner Yvonne Hinson-Rawls and Edwards sharing a congressional reading sent by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla, that will be housed perpetually in the Congressional Archives in Washington, D.C. Brown also sent Mickle an autographed picture of her with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Alachua County Commissioner Lee Pinkoson and April Griffin, an Alachua County School Board member, both thanked Mickle for his years of service to the community.

Phil Emmer, a local developer responsible for building the Lincoln Estates neighborhood in southeast Gainesville, and his wife, Barbara Emmer, sat at a table with Mickle and his wife, Catherine Mickle.

Emmer took advantage of the opportunity to thank Mickle for buying a home and staying in Lincoln Estates, where he taught swimming in his own pool for many years until three years ago, when he began having lessons at Mickle Pool.

GPD chief Tony Jones, who was in attendance, thanked Mickle for teaching him how to swim at the “old Lincoln Pool” that used to be located in what is now the Lincoln Park subdivision. Jones said although he didn’t make the swimming team like Hinson-Rawls did, he was still thankful that Mickle taught him and others how to swim.

“Thank you for the work you have done,” said Jones.

The event also featured hamburgers, hotdogs and sausages hot off the grill with baked beans, coleslaw, potato chips and ice cold drinks. The hot weather even kept the lines long at the snow cone machine manned by pool attendants.

Dani performed several more songs while those attending enjoyed lunch, and once the pool was open, young and adult swimmers alike cooled down by getting in the water, sitting on the side of the pool with their feet and legs submerged, or splashing in the pool from the diving board or the newly installed Kersplash Pool Climbing Wall.

Mickle sat on a bench inside the pool area with a big smile on his face as he watched residents enjoying themselves.

“This is awesome, and I’m glad to see people having so much fun,” he said.

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