Progress 2023: Meet the 2023 Citizen of the Year Mark McKinnon

Published 3:00 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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Editor’s note: This article originally published in “Progress 2023: Behind the Scenes.” Copies are available at out office, 1109 Seventh Street N in Clanton. 



Behind every successful community are people who invest time, talent and funding into making a positive impact.

Each year one such person is recognized as the Citizen of the Year in The Clanton Advertiser’s “Progress” edition. Just who is selected remains a secret until the magazine is published.

This year, the committee has selected dedicated businessman and community leader Mark McKinnon.

Selection Committee leader Lori Patterson said he was

chosen for his generosity to the community, including its schools, nonprofits and churches. He also volunteers his time by serving on a few boards for local programs.

Many know Mark McKinnon because of McKinnon Toyota and Nissan. Others know him because of his volunteer work. His wife Brandi said Mark “can’t go anywhere (in Chilton County) without knowing everybody.”

A Chilton County native and Chilton County High School alum, he grew up around the automotive industry watching his father Wayne McKinnon, who was the founder of McKinnon Toyota and Nissan. Mark entered full-time ministry after college with Campus Crusade for Christ for several years before returning to Chilton County and the family business.

“It’s not just a job for him or a way to make money,” Brandi said. “It is like a gift to give or a blessing to bless others with is how he sees it.”

He was recently appointed to the Chilton Medical Center Property Board by the Chilton County Commission.

He is a member of the YMCA of Chilton County Board of Directors, the Chilton County High School Gridiron Club and a part of the Seeking to Empower People group, which was started by Clanton Mayor Jeff Mims.

Mark is also an active member of Grace Fellowship Church, where he leads the expansion building committee, which was formed in 2022.

“He has always been passionate about helping others, like seeing a need and figuring out the best way to meet needs,” Brandi said. “He doesn’t just give money and walk away.”

He has also invested time or donated to Care Net of Chilton County, Butterfly Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center and Raleigh’s Place.

As he receives many requests for donations or volunteering, Brandi said Mark uses discernment to determine where would be best to offer his help.

“He works hard and he loves this community, so I am glad that he is being recognized, and people are seeing his love for the community,” Brandi said. “He is committed to it.”

Mark and Brandi were foster parents for several years, and have four adopted children. Their oldest child is in middle school.