Men of Iberville: Changing the parish one act at a time
Now retired as of March 30, Mike Markins has made a lasting impact on the people in Iberville Parish.
Markins spent about fifteen years in the finance industry before he started making a shift into Parks and Recreation. The shift began around the time that his oldest son was turning five years old.
"There were no sports for him to play that were closer to home. That's when I decided to look into starting recreation here. I looked up the rules for t-ball in different cities, and the first t-ball team was formed between 1981 and 1982," Markins said. "We only had about four teams at that time. Then, six years down the road, we had about twenty teams."
Markins has two sons and one daughter, and all three of them played t-ball when they were younger. The game is open to both boys and girls to play.
For the last 29 years, Markins has been Executive Director of Parks and Recreation of Iberville. Before that, he was the Program Director, which he started in 1990. During this time, he focused on developing programs for children to play sports in.
"I developed all of these sports programs from scratch. They're like my kids, really. I was very dedicated to creating them and successful at it, too. A few of these programs include baseball, t-ball, flag football, volleyball, and tennis," Markins said.
The most rewarding part of his Executive Director job was being able to help the less fortunate children, because he gave them the ability to play games and took them under his wing. Now that he has retired, Markins plans on following his grandchildren. He has four grandchildren, two boys and two girls, between the ages of five and fourteen.
For twenty years, Markins was the baseball and football coach at St. John School. Now, though, he only coaches football, because his grandson plays for the team. While he was working, Markins volunteered at St. John School quite frequently.
"The last thirty years, my brother and I have been going to every Friday football game for St. John. I can count on one hand how many times we missed a game. Whether it's away or at home, we make it out to them," Markins said.
Ultimately, sports is Markins' hobby. For thirty-five years, Markins was involved in the Babe Ruth League. He served in positions like Assistant State Director, Louisiana State Director, and as an umpire. In 2014, Markins was elected to the Louisiana Babe Ruth Hall of Fame. In 2019, he was inducted into the Southwest Region Hall of Fame.
"You get elected for these through the amount of involvement you have in it. That could be volunteering, too. It's a very prestigious feeling to be elected for those. The Southwest Region was the biggest honors," Markins said.
Aside from sports, Markins has also spent a lot of time volunteering with the Knights of Columbus Council 970 and at the Father's Club bingo events at St. John School.
For the last thirty years at St. John Church, Markins and his wife, Jennifer, spend an hour doing adoration every week.
"My wife an I actually met when we were 12 years old. We got married when we were about 20 years old. So, we've been together for a really long time now," Markins said.
In 1974, Markins and his wife took a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for their honeymoon. Gatlinburg is one of Markins favorite places to travel to. Markins and his wife also have friends who live near Gatlinburg.
"I really enjoy the sightseeing when we go there. It's nice to get away from all of the noise of everything. The fresh air is really great," Markins said.
Being nominated as a Man of Iberville, Markins said it was flabbergasting.
"The amount of people I've met through the Parks and Recreation Department, and how many people I've impacted, really makes sense. I didn't think anything of it beforehand, but I think it really shows what I've done for the children and the community," Markins said.