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Second annual Paint the Town Blue Gala tremendous success

By Ken Gustafson

AMERICUS — Over 700 people gathered at the Storm Dome Saturday night, March 10, for the second annual Paint the Town Blue Gala. The event is to benefit the Smarr Smith Foundation, which was formed in 2017, to honor local police officers Nick Smarr and Jody Smith who were killed in the line of duty on Dec. 7, 2016.

Detective Cedric Smith, at right, was presented with the Officer of the Year award by Americus Police Chief Mark Scott, at left.

The foundation has provided over $20,000 in scholarships to Georgia Southwestern State University and South Georgia Technical College. The

Officer Ethan Johnson , at right, was awarded Officer of the Year for the Georgia Southwestern State University Police Department. He was presented with the award by GSW Police Chief Mike Tracy, at left.

foundation has also provided over $30,000 in equipment to the Americus Police Department, the GSW Police Department, the Sumter County Sherriff’s Office and the Georgia State Patrol. The foundation continues to provide funding to law

Officer Antoinette Johnson of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office was presented with the Officer of the Year award by Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith.

enforcement agencies for training and equipment. Congressman Sanford Bishop presented the family of Nick Smarr with the Congressional Badge for Bravery at the event.
Three law enforcement agencies: the Americus Police Department, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, and the Georgia Southwestern State University Police Department presented their awards for Officer of the Year in those respective departments. For the Americus Police Department, Detective Cedric Smith was presented with the Officer of the Year award by APD Chief Mark Scott. “It feels great to be nominated by my co-workers,” Smith said. “It’s a good feeling.
Officer Antoinette Johnson of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office was presented with the Officer of the Year award by Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith. “It’s an honor and a pleasure,” Johnson said. “I just thank Sheriff Pete Smith, Col. [Eric] Bryant, my family for nominating me to be Officer of the Year.”
Officer Ethan Johnson was awarded Officer of the Year for the GSW Police Department. He was presented with the award by GSW Chief Mike Tracy. “It’s an honor and I’m just glad to have the opportunity to have the experience in this department around me to help guide me in my law enforcement career,” Johnson said.

Sharron Johnson and Janice Smarr, mothers of the late Jody Smith and Nick Smarr, embrace during the second annual Paint the Town Blue Gala hosted by the Smarr-Smith Foundation Saturday at GSW.

After the award presentations, the crowd was treated to some entertaining comedy by comedian Jeff Allen, followed by music from the Swinging Medallions Band. There was also a silent auction involving several University of Georgia football items, including a Herschel Walker jersey.
During the inaugural event held in 2017, the Paint the Town Blue event raised $60,000. Organizers did not have a total raised this year as of press time.