Smith named Polk Countian of the Year
Polk County Enterprise - January 2008
LIVINGSTON — The Livingston - Polk County Chamber of Commerce named businessman Sydney Smith Polk Countian of the year.
Outgoing Chamber Chairman Jason Pedigo listed Smith's numerous accomplishment and service to the community and country.
Smith served in the United States Navy during World War II and after returning from the service, graduated from the University of Texas.
He became an agent for the Internal Revenue Service for several years before he and his wife decided to return to Livingston.
Smith established an accounting firm and while he ran that business he launched several other business ventures, including a department store.
In the 1960s he branched out further working with several developments around Lake Livingston including Oak Terrace and Lake Livingston Estates.
Smith is a major shareholder in the Livingston Telephone Company and he has served as chairman of the board for many years.
Smith has been an active member of the Lions Club for almost 50 years. He also has worked with the Livingston Community Concert Association and the Livingston Area Community Band.
He advanced his efforts to improve the community by forming a family foundation. Some of the recent benefits have been placing the Community Clock in front of Livingston City Hall, the Courthouse Gazebo on the Courthouse Square, donating a new organ for Central Baptist Church and contributions to Memorial Medical Center - Livingston among numerous other projects.
Smith accepted the award from longtime friend and former mayor of the City of Livingston Joe Pedigo.
The chamber also honored retiring directors Greg Hendrix, Dr. Michael Shukan, Jennifer Birdwell, Dr. Craig Reese and past chairman Lyle Nelson.
Pedigo then welcomed income chairman Sheila Smith.
The chamber also honored retiring ambassador president Shirley Johnson.
Outgoing chairman Jason Pedigo also was honored as ambassador of the year.
Sheila Smith credited Pedigo for devoting so much time and energy to the ambassadors and the mission of the chamber that he could be devoting to his family and business.
Pedigo is also very active in Habitat for Humanity, the Go-Texan Committee and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Senior Ambassador of the Year was awarded to Elfriede Zipprian. In addition to devoting many hours to chamber activities, she is the "care reporter" for the Lions Club, a member of the hospital auxiliary and the Catholic Daughters of American at St. Joseph's Catholic Church.
The 2008 Community Service award was presented to Molly Anderson.
"Molly understands the importance of tourism to the economic well-being of our city and county," Smith said. "For many years, she could be found watering the plants downtown long after everyone else had gone home."
She learned from her mother, Helen Malone, the importance of sharing the history of our county so that others may learn and pass the information on to future generations.
She has been active in the Christmas Tour of Homes for 25 years, active in the Main Street project and is chairman of the Design Committee. She is president of the Heritage Society and very active the Livingston Specialty Merchants Guild and Trade Days.
Onalaska Fire Chief Roy Newport accepted the chamber's first responder of the year award. Newport has been active in OFVD since its inception 35 years ago.
Newport directed operations at OVFD during Hurricane Rita and went to Lumberton to help with chainsaw crews clear debris.
Newport consistently ranks highest in "calls made" each year, especially since he retired from teaching.
The board also honored Dr. Mike Shukan with the business development award and Richard E. Abercrombie with its Senior Citizen Award.
Goodrich Middle School teacher Lillian Fisher was honored as educator of the year.