Tribute to a volunteer
great to see so many people here to honor our good
friend and neighbor, John Smith. Even though we are of many different
ages and have
all kinds of jobs and interests, it is certain that we all have one
admiration of a man who
never quits until the job is done.
man, of course, is John Smith.
I’ve known John for
about 10 years. I first met him at a
Little League game shortly after we moved here and my wife and I were
Timmy play. He was about 8 years old at the time.
Anyway, this woman sitting near us was
complaining about the sun. I remembered my wife and I were almost
because you expect sun in an afternoon baseball game and we were glad
wasn’t rained out. But the woman kept going on and on about how we
clouds to break up the sun. John was also sitting nearby.
Not one to just
listen, John went over to the lady and said,
“I can’t do anything about the weather but maybe this will help.” He
an umbrella that he had gone to his car to get and urged her to use it
shield from the sun. She was ecstatic. As it turned out, some friends
her a ride to the game and it was the one chance she had to see her
play. But because she had had some skin cancers removed, she was
concerned about the sun.
Had John done
nothing, the rest of us would have continue to
listen to her complaining – which was not something we wanted to hear –
sun exposure might have given her more problems down the road. I was so impressed with
what John had done, I
knew that this was someone I wanted to know and so I introduced myself.
and I have been close friends ever since.
As all of you know,
John is a native of Charleston. In fact, he’s helped many
in this room get to
know this city and introduced us to the joys and peculiarities of
life. He knows the
high and low places –
not that there are that many high places in the Lowcountry.
John can tell you
when the first settlers came and where the
pirates stashed their treasure. He knows where to eat, to drink, to
play and to
escape – something that many of us do far too seldom. He knows
what is in the
newspaper before it is printed, and he keeps his hand on the pulse of
community better than anyone else I know.
all know something else about John.
He doesn’t just look around and see
that need attention. He takes action. We all see the same things that
sees. There are jobs that need to be done, problems that need to be
as we look at those and think about our busy lives, we most likely say
ourselves, “Somebody will that care of that.”
We mean well but we just don’t get
around to doing anything.
John is the person
who does something.
When we look at
this community center – which was only a
dream five years ago – many of us were in that camp that said “We
need a place where neighbors can meet, where children can play after
where senior citizens can get some support and companionship. Somebody needs to do
Well, that somebody
was John Smith. He saw possibilities
where the rest of us saw need.
He saw opportunity
where the rest of us saw problems.
He didn’t say, “Let
somebody else do it.” He
said, “I’ll take that on.”
With the hustle of
the Energizer Bunny, John started talking
and raising money. All John’s talk and enthusiasm gave the rest of us
needed most – and that was leadership.
He was the
quarterback in a drive that took us from a dream
to a reality….the reality of this fine building we will enjoy for years.
So John, on behalf
of everyone here, I’d like to say thanks
for being a man of action and not just words. You got us started,
people to work together to complete this community center. It would never have
happened without you.
So join me in
giving John a round of applause and a big