CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — “I had a great time at Channel 3, I really had a lot of fun,” says Peter McFarland.
But after 43 years, the fun is coming to an end. McFarland has retired.
He’s known as ‘Mr. Fix It’ at WCIA. But to the Champaign-Urbana community, he’s the smiling coach in the ball field.
1978 — a year Peter McFarland will never forget: The beginning of his journey as an engineer at WCIA.
“I just stayed 43 years later, I didn’t think it’d be 43 years later, but 43 years later I’m still here,” he says.
“The fun and the people. People think it’s crazy but I still enjoy coming to work every day.”
But when he’s not fixing things here at the station, he’s busy volunteering his time for the kids. From coaching to Boy Scouts, he always finds time to give back.
“I have a First String program, which we do baseball, basketball, and a little mentoring,” McFarland says.
First String is an organization he started nearly 30 years ago that teaches kids more than just how to play ball. It teaches them sportsmanship, respect, and loyalty.
“I always thought if I want to talk about things not working out, not being the way it should be, go out there and change things,” he says.
Over the years, McFarland has coached hundreds of kids, each one with a different story to tell on how he made an impact on their lives.
“Go out, get your hands dirty, work with the kids and work with everybody if you want things to change,” McFarland says.
He says they’re the reason he comes back season after season and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
“Attention, little love and continue to do those things and give back to them because somebody gave back to you when you was growing up,” he says.
His time at WCIA may be at the end of an era, but he couldn’t leave without a final goodbye.
McFarland won the recreation impact award for his volunteer efforts last year. It was for First String in providing scholarships for kids who aren’t able to play.