Posted: 11:00 p.m.
Sunday, dozens of friends honored a Yuma man, who was known for his compassion and hard work to establish equality.
The community remembered, 70-year-old Michael Baughman, an inspirational man, who touched countless lives.
"If it hadn't been for Michael, I would not be standing here talking to you today," said Bear Ly Covered, a friend of Baughman. "The day I met him, I was ready to go out and kill myself."
Covered's story is a powerful example of the love Baughman had for the people of Yuma.
Baughman passed away last month.
Sunday, loved ones celebrated his life saying he leaves behind a legacy of activism, giving a voice to the local gay and lesbian community.
"He was a man that was wise beyond his years," said Covered. "If you didn't have the chance to meet him, it was a great loss."
Baughman was a U.S. Army veteran, who originally moved to Yuma to care for his elderly father.
"I don't think it was long after that that he became involved in the community," said County Supervisor Lenore Stuart. He stayed for more than 30 years, because "he was a community service man," said Stuart.
Among his countless recognitions was an award for Activist of the Year for Arizona, becoming the first Yuman to receive such honor.
But friends said he had a simple message.
"Probably his dying wish is that people just don't sit around and not do something when they see someone needs help," Stuart said. "They need to get involved and help people do things."
Donations in Baughman's honor can be made to the Michael Baughman scholarship fund at the Foothills Bank.