A room full of family, friends and community leaders showed that over the years Donal Snyder Sr. has touched many hearts.
"You see the people in the room and you realize the impact," Snyder's daughter Judy Snyder-Kavanagh said. "Daddy always said 'I'm just a recreation director,' and just a recreation director has helped so many people."
Donal Snyder retired as Biloxi recreation director in the 1970s. Before that, for more than 20 years friends and co-workers say he dedicated himself to improving all facets of the city's recreational department. They say he made something out of nothing and the impossible possible.
"He is the cornerstone of recreation," former co-worker Kenneth Lyons said. "He is the epitome of recreation. He is the best director I have ever known."
"Nobody around either deceased or living has given so much to the city of Biloxi recreation department as Donal Snyder, so it wasn't a very hard choice," Mayor A.J. Holloway said.
Snyder says his biggest accomplishment is the long list of names that have come through the city recreation department and gone on to be successful in life.
"People like Bob Morrison who writes country and western music. He's in their hall of fame on their walk of honor," Snyder said. "People like Larry Guess. My own son Bill Snyder, people like that. And there are so many of them who are not only nice athletes but just great people."
The new recreational center includes racquetball and basketball courts, two pools, a walking track and many other features. Beginning Monday the Donal Snyder Community Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.