Calvin Smith has been selected as the Grand Marshal for the 2016 Comer Christmas Parade set for Saturday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m.
Smith is a lifelong resident of the Comer Community and has been involved both as a local business leader and a volunteer in community activities and events his entire life. He graduated from the old Comer High School and served his country as a member of the Georgia Air National Guard.
In 1965, he was employed by the local telephone company as an accountant. With his office in Comer he continued until his retirement in 1993 as the Manager of Operations for much of the four-county region administered through the main office in Comer.
While his leadership as an executive with the phone company is notable, most of his friends, family and acquaintances will associate Calvin with his tireless, unselfish work as a volunteer. He has been instrumental serving with the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, the Madison County Cattleman’s Association, Relay for Life and the Madison County Clean and Beautiful campaign. Most recently he has volunteered with the T. J. and Friends Cancer Foundation. This organization provides assistance and relief to cancer patients and their families in their fight against this dreaded disease.
“A conversation with Smith about his community service will always gravitate to his 51 years of continuous service as an active member of the Comer Volunteer Fire Department,” said Comer leaders. “Smith will still be there in case of fires in the middle of the night assisting any way he can but, most importantly, lending his expertise that can only be obtained by decades of experience in firefighting.”
Smith mentioned that “I have seen the fire department grow from a lean-to shed on the side of city hall” to a “modern facility, state of the art trucks and the specialized equipment we have today.”
He recalled that when he first joined the department there were no communications, most of the equipment was built by the members, and basic funds for necessities like gas for the trucks were raised from selling chicken barbecue plates. The results of improvements have been more effective fire suppression and an insurance rating improvement that saves community residents and business thousands of dollars each year in premiums.
Fire Chief Johnny Bridges best expressed Smith’s commitment by saying “Even after 51 years of service, Calvin still actively participates by responding to all fires and, just as important, to all training sessions and meetings. The Comer Community has been fortunate to have dedicated members like Calvin on our fire department. This level of commitment, that spans over half a century, would be difficult, if not impossible, without the dedication of not only the member, but their family also.”
Smith credits his ability to faithfully participate in worthwhile endeavors, like the Comer Volunteer Fire Department, to his wife of 58 years, Mary, and their children, Danny and Renee.