SALT LAKE CITY — It has been said that a person can be judged by the company he keeps. Another measure may be the respect gained from those around you, for the person you are and the good work that you do.
In each of those cases, Mac Christensen might stand as an outstanding example of a life well-lived.
The founder of the Mr. Mac chain of men’s clothing stores was recognized for his community service and work in support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The organization presented Christensen with its Breath of Life Award — given "to caring, generous, selfless people who are driven by the desire to make the community and the lives of others better."
"We are deeply grateful to Mac for his support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in helping to raise awareness and funds," said Laura Hadley, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation executive director. "We have made such wonderful advancements in medical research and are close to having drugs approved and available that treat the actual disease, not just the symptoms.”
The award was presented Saturday at the Taste of Utah at the Grand America Hotel. The event — hosted by the Utah/Idaho Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation — drew 1,000 people to the hotel's Grand Ballroom.
The national organization funds research as well as supports and accredits a nationwide network of 110 care centers, including at Primary Children’s Medical Center and the University of Utah. Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening disease that affects the respiratory and digestive systems. It is the No. 1 genetic killer of children and young adults.
While more than 10 million Americans are symptomless carriers of the CF gene, about 1,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.
Christensen was honored for his overall community service, not just his support of the foundation, Hadley said.
Christensen serves as president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square, Temple Square Chorale and Bells on Temple Square.
His tireless work in support of others drew praise from numerous friends and community leaders.
"No one cares about others more than Mac. No one!" said Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, parodying Christensen's TV commercials. "No one is a better friend than Mac. No one!"
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, called Christensen his best friend and one of the greatest institutions in all of Utah.
"He goes about doing good things for people all the time," Hatch said. "He's always giving service to others."