At Mount Vernon High School he was quarterback and Most Valuable Player of the football team. He had lead roles in “Dream Girls” and “Grease” on the high school stage and had acted in three motion pictures, “The Lady Killer,” “Pariah,” and “Buffalo Boys.”
Rodney Mack’s mother, Dwanda Mack, said that she is grateful her son realized so many of his ambitions and that she is proud of the person he was. “He was always compassionate, he would bring people together,” she said. “The love he had in his heart for people… He inspired and encouraged at all times, and he never wanted credit for anything. He just wanted to see people together, to love people.”
And this year, Mack fulfilled a dream he’d had since he was 7, when he became a Mount Vernon firefighter. In January, after 16 weeks of training, he graduated from the Westchester Fire Academy. Just three days later, Mack was hospitalized with a brain tumor. His mother said Mack dreamed of becoming a fireman at an early age. “Ever since he was a little boy, the age of 7, every car he ever wanted was a red car or a truck,” she said.
He died last Monday, and never got the chance to don his turnout gear and respond to a call with his fellow probationary firefighters. Nevertheless, Deputy Fire Commissioner Deborah Norman called Mack “one of our own” and said the fire department planned to pay tribute to him at his funeral. A wake is scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Allen Memorial Church of God, 132 Crary Ave., Mount Vernon, and a home-going service there at 10 a.m. Thursday. “We’re assisting the family and will give (him) a nice, honorable home-going service,” Norman said. His mother said Mack dreamed of becoming a fireman at an early age.
Ric Wright, a former Mount Vernon football coach, said Mack was the school’s starting varsity quarterback in 2003 and 2004 and helped the team reach the 2004 Class AA championship game, which it lost to New Rochelle. The team upset No. 1-seeded Carmel in the semifinals, but Mack broke his leg in the game and could not play in the final.
“He was one of my best kids,” Wright said. “He could’ve been one of my best quarterbacks. If he had not gotten hurt, he probably would’ve gotten a scholarship.” He said one of Mack’s acting projects has yet to air on television.
“Rodney’s probably going to become more popular in his death than in his life,” Wright said. “A lot of what he did is going to come out and people are going to realize that he had these talents that no one realized he had.”His mother said Mack dreamed of becoming a fireman at an early age.
He said one of Mack’s acting projects has yet to air on television. “Rodney’s probably going to become more popular in his death than in his life,” Wright said. “A lot of what he did is going to come out and people are going to realize that he had these talents that no one realized he had.” In some of his credits he’s known as Ro Mack.