Look what you’ve done!
Published 9:59 am Thursday, April 20, 2023
Tracy K. Hall
On March 18, 2023, a community in love with Nick Smarr, Jody Smith and law enforcement in general showed up for a celebration of their work. The Smarr Smith Foundation (SSF) held its sixth annual Paint the Town Blue Gala and once again, this community proved they have what it takes when it comes to showing their support. It is not a secret that the SSF is made up of people like you. None of the success the foundation has seen would happen without the blood of generosity running through the veins of this community.
As with any big event, the results can take some time tally and for the most part, the numbers are in. This year, you raised $38,502.03. This in addition to those who met the challenge of a local supporter who wanted to buy a set of body armor for an officer. In all, five people also gave in this manner to the SSF.
The SSF invest in local law enforcement. The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, the Americus Police Department and the Office of Public Safety at GSW receive your gifts. Most of the money raised goes directly to these departments for equipment they need in order to serve and protect us in the best way possible. The monies raised are for tools which the departments would otherwise go without. This year, each department will have $10,266 to make purchases. The head of the departments make their requests to the SSF board for approval. If the board approves the purchase, the SSF will pay for the equipment directly. These monies do not go into a governmental budget, nor directly to the head of the department.
As also part of the SSF mission, education and ongoing training is made available to the departments. SSF keeps an endowed scholarship, and it is required that a certain part of the budget be earmarked for learning opportunities. This year, another $7,700 will be set aside to fulfill this mission.
When you support SSF you are showing your appreciation and telling this community what you value. Make no mistake, the community values a solid law enforcement officer and the names of Nick Smarr and Jody Smith. It is no secret law enforcement is becoming a tougher and tougher field to recruit folks to work. However, without them, societal chaos would rise significantly. A decision has been made to make our three agencies as attractive as possible as it is up to those who support the SSF. There is special appreciation due to this community, and praise to be given to local retailers who contribute tirelessly to the cause through their donation of services and goods. The beautiful thing about supporting SSF is that support boomerangs back to supporting our residents. No one is left out of this formula, and for such, the SSF Board is so very grateful. As you can imagine, as a department head, every penny counts and some hard decisions have to be made. It is the board’s wish you could see the joy on Mike Lewis’, Eric Bryant’s and Mark Scott’s faces knowing they can depend on you to help ensure the men and women, including citizens under their leadership are being cared for in the very best way possible.
For the most part, SSF board members have continued to be your voice for years now. Many of the founding members in 2016 are still on the board and are still passionate about the work you are doing. The 2023 board members are Donnie McCrary, Faith Pinnell, Nigel Poole, Jimmy Whaley, Jessie Simmons, Blake Dukes, Ashley Austin, Hannah Pitts, Paul Johnson, Mike Tracy, Jay Lewis, Mark Scott, Eric Bryant, Chuck Hanks, Mike Lewis, Brett Murray and Tracy K. Hall. If you would like to learn more about SSF please contact one of them or visit the website at smarrsmithfoundation.com or their Facebook page by the same name.
For an infinity of reasons, thank you.