He’s got a smile that will melt your heart, and you get the impression, after talking with Tim McGeary, that it’s actually genuine. That’s unusual for someone who has lived the life McGeary has. And that’s what makes him so special. Because after everything he’s been through, after everything he’s seen and experienced and felt, McGeary is still standing.
And he’s still smiling.
He’s had quite a life. The son of an FBI agent, Tim McGeary was the oldest of ten children and spent much of his childhood traveling throughout South America, India and Pakistan as a merchant marine.
“With a father that was a FBI agent you didn’t get away with much and there was no excuse for being late,” McGeary remembers.
He is grateful to have finally grown up here in America. When asked what country of the world he would choose to live, if he couldn’t stay in the United States, he said, “Probably in Italy, in the country.”
McGeary the Musician
McGeary started composing music at a young age and his songs have been tapped for such hit television shows as “Smallville,” “One Tree Hill” and “Glory Days,” as well as the made-for-HBO film,“Girl Got Moe.”
We asked how young he really was when he started composing and playing music.
“When I was five years old I was taking piano lessons, I finished my assigned lesson that the teacher gave for the week, and then showed her the song that I had written,” McGeary answered. “She was very surprised.
“When I was about ten years old, we had a band and played blues and some simple rock and pop covers. Then I was in a Christian band called Chiros, and played in a coffee house and at Sunday mass; the exit hymn was Soul Sacrifice by Santana. We drew a lot of youth during these services.
“I played in a cover band in college for beer money, then was in a band in New York called Neighbors and Allies. We played at CBGB’s and the Hot Club in Philadelphia. That broke up and then I was in a signed band called The Rescue, on A&M records, we opened up for Billy Idol, Roxy Music, Simple Minds, The Cure, The Straycats, and many more. We were the opening act for two years straight, playing 5000 to 25000 people every show. Went through a few more Record deals–Island Records, and then had a few years of just writing and started to get some of my songs on TV shows (“Smallville,” “One Tree Hill,” “Glory Days,” and few others–friends told me I should go to Nashville because I constantly write songs). I recorded two CDs under the name Wonderful Johnson (it was an actual guy’s name I had met), and now I have publishing deal with the Mix Factory and go to Nashville about every two and half months for two weeks at a stretch to co-write. So my style ranges from blues to rock, to indie rock to country/Americana.”
McGeary the Hero
For the past two decades McGeary has been a firefighter and paramedic with the Collier County Fire Department, further evidence of his fervent desire to provide help and support in any way he’s able. In the wake of 9/11, he was right there at Ground Zero with other emergency personnel, doing what he could to make a difference, and he’s gone to lend a hand at other national disasters, as well.
McGeary has been honored with the Collier County Commission’s prestigious Phoenix Award, which is given to paramedics who successfully revive people who have suffered cardiac death, bringing them back to life. This humble hero doesn’t think of himself as doing anything special–only what he is trained to do.
We asked how he came to be a paramedic.
“I lost my company, my house, my car,” McGeary said. “I was bankrupt, started to work two jobs and one of the waitresses was going to EMT school, and I thought to myself, ‘I could do that’.”
McGeary loves his job. “I help people for a living, though, finally, I am retiring within the next year. But what can you say when you have brought someone back to life, given someone their father or mother, sister or brother, or a child back. Actually I just think I do what I am trained to do, but it is really God’s choice.”
We asked McGeary to elaborate on his thoughts about God.
“I am very spiritual person,” he answered. “I like the saying ‘everything you say is a prayer.’ I pray all the time. My favorite book is “The Shack.” I’ve read it three times. I have a Sufi saying tattooed on my forearm, ‘Be the Feather on the Breath of God.’ I have daily affirmations. One is, ‘I believe, I trust, and I let go.’ When I finally got this, or should say, believed it with my whole heart, everything started to happen: I got my ego out of the way and let God take over.”
Second Hand Saint
We asked McGeary what have been the greatest challenges of his life.
“There have been a few,” he said. “First, I am clean and sober for over 27 years. That was tough, but I had a great wife and family rally around me, that got me through what I thought was the worst part of my life. But then the worst did happen when I lost my 18 year old son in automobile accident. We were crushed. There is nothing worse than losing a child.”
His philosophy of life?
“Be grateful everyday for everything that has come to your door, every person that you meet. It doesn’t matter if it was a pleasant experience or unpleasant–it was to teach. If you can adopt this to your heart, everything changes.”
It’s this philosophy that is the guiding principle behind McGeary’s new CD, Second Hand Saint. “For me, the CD is for all of us who have been through hard times, but come out on the other side feeling grateful for everything that we have learned from that experience,” says McGeary.
This remarkable attitude–one of actually feeling grateful for the hard times life has given us–is one of the reasons we knew Tim McGeary had to be featured in Naples Noteworthy, and one of the reasons why we think you’ll really enjoy Second Hand Saint.
Here’s a preview from the CD.
Where to Get Second Hand Saint
Follow Tim McGeary
Stevie Tomato’s (Immokalee and Collier), Thursday 8/20/2015, at to benefit the Brotherhood Ride, 6 pm to 9 pm.
Island Hopper Festival 9/17 to 9/20 on Captiva
Ft Myers Beach 9/24 to 9/27.