Fallin and Middleton awarded SGTC Foundation Smarr-Smith Criminal Justice scholarship

Published 4:39 pm Wednesday, January 4, 2023

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From Staff Reports

AMERICUS – South Georgia Technical College Criminal Justice Technology students Hunter Fallin and Michael Middleton were awarded the Smarr-Smith Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice scholarship recently by the South Georgia Technical College Foundation.

The Smarr-Smith endowed scholarship at South Georgia Technical College was created in memory of fallen Americus Police Officer Nicholas R. Smarr and Georgia Southwestern State University Campus Safety Officer Jody C. Smith.  The endowment was created by the Smarr-Smith Foundation, private individuals, and an anonymous donor.  Both Nicholas Smarr and Jody Smith attended the criminal justice program at South Georgia Technical College.

Hunter Fallin is a full-time police officer for the City of Leesburg.  He has been in the criminal justice field for three and a half years and is a graduate of the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy and a recent graduate of the SGTC Criminal Justice program with an associate degree.  He plans on continuing his education towards a four-year Criminal Justice degree.  His career goals include either teaching Criminal Justice or obtaining a federal law enforcement career.

“I would like to thank the South Georgia Technical College Foundation and the individuals who have supported this scholarship program,” said Fallin.  “Education is the key to me reaching my career goals and this scholarship is very beneficial.  I appreciate the foundation as well as the Smarr and Smith families.

Michael Middleton is a career law enforcement officer in this community.  He began his law enforcement career in 2002 with the Americus Police Department.  He is currently working with the Cordele Police Department and has been since 2018.  He has two children, ages 21 and 17, and wanted to finish his education as a way to encourage his children to continue their education.

“I have worked hard to finish my associate degree and I am proud that it is now complete,” said Middleton.  “It took encouragement from many people to get me here.  I am planning to continue my education and begin working towards my bachelor degree.  This scholarship is helping make this happen.  I plan to continue working in law enforcement and hope to lead a department one day.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be considered for this scholarship.”

“Both of these individuals are great students and very deserving of receiving this scholarship,” said Teresa McCook, SGTC Americus Criminal Justice Instructor.  “These are exactly the type of students that this scholarship was meant to help.”

South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford thanked the Smarr and Smith families and others for their support of this scholarship. “We all regret that this scholarship opportunity had to come at the expense of the lives of two outstanding South Georgia Technical College students and law enforcement officers,” said Dr. Watford.  “Our hearts will continue to go out to the family and friends of Officers Smarr and Smith.  But it is our prayer that this gift will assist other POST certified officers who wish to continue their education. We hope that the fine men and women who earn these scholarships will honor the memories of Officers Smith and Smarr through their service to our citizens and that the memory of Nick Smarr and Jody Smith will continue to live on through the lives of these scholarship recipients.”

Nicholas Smarr and Jody Smith, both attended the South Georgia Technical College Criminal Justice Program.  Smarr attained his Associate of Applied Science Degree in June of 2011 and became a certified law enforcement officer in 2012.  Jody Smith had attended South Georgia Tech in 2010 and had returned in 2016 to begin completing his Criminal Justice associate degree.

Twenty-four Smarr-Smith scholarships have been awarded since the scholarships were endowed.  Charles Kinnamon and Adam O’Neal were the first two scholarship recipients. King W. Mitchell, Antoinette L. Johnson and Emerson R. Lundy were the second three recipients. Dalton Lee Windham and Cora K. Baker were awarded the scholarships in December 2018. Brandon Glover, April Cosby, and Matthew Pearce were the Smarr-Smith scholars in 2019.  Amneh Laursen, Chris Owens, Monteze McCall, Cedric Smith, Chandler Buchanan and David Rueda-Fierros were the 2020 scholars and Christopher Prokesh, Michael Cobb, Rodney Gore, and Eric Taylor-Hair received the awards in 2021.  Lt. Jacqueline Teresa Miller and Alisa Colwell were the first 2022 recipients and now Michael Middleton and Hunter Fallin were recognized in 2022 as well.

For more information about donating to the SGTC Foundation or endowing a scholarship at South Georgia Technical College, contact Su Ann Bird, Executive Director of the SGTC Foundation and Vice President of Institutional Advancement, at 229.931.2110 or sbird@southgatech.edu.  Contributions may also be mailed to the SGTC Foundation, P.O. Box 6102, Americus, GA.   Additional donations can be added to the Smarr-Smith Scholarship fund and all donations will be recognized and shared with members of the Smith and Smarr families.