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Bobby Smith named 38th Rotary Citizen of the Year

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Bobby Smith named 38th Rotary Citizen of the Year

W.R. "Bobby" Smith, right, and wife Jennie receive contratulations from members of the area Rotary Clubs Monday at the Forest Heights Country Club after Smith was named the organizations' 2008 Citizen of the Year.

    The Statesboro and Downtown Statesboro Rotary Clubs came together Monday to announce their 2008 Rotary Citizen of the Year — William R. "Bobby" Smith.
    During his introduction of the candidate, Bill Perry, former minister at First Baptist Church, said Smith "is a handshake kind of gentleman."
    Smith had to take a moment before describing how he felt at receiving the award.
    "It means so much to me coming from this community," said Smith. "I'm so proud of the things they do, the things they're involved in and the help they give to people. Just to be a part of it and be part of this organization - it's been great."
    "I appreciate so much the honor they've given to me."
    Smith taught at Georgia Southern University for over two decades and ran his family business for many years. Much of the space used by the Habitat for Humanity ReStore is donated by Smith. He is active in Boy Scouts with Troop 342 and served on the boards of Ogeechee Area Hospice, Statesboro Regional Library and the Statesboro Housing Authority.
    Asked at one point of the announcement speech he knew his name was going to be called, Smith said, "About one third of the way through. I knew for sure when (Perry) started talking about my MBA."
    The selection was made by a joint committee of the two local clubs. Nomination forms were made available to all members of both clubs.
    Criteria used to select the recipient include being a resident of Bulloch, a person of high moral character and and active in civic affairs of the city and county. Their activities must contribute to the betterment of the entire community and to the cultural, social and moral advancement of all citizens. Exemplary performances that benefit the community, outside of work and without compensation, form the basis for selection.
    The award is presented to anyone possessing these qualifications and is not limited to Rotarians. Most importantly, the honoree must reflect Rotary's ideal of "Service Above Self."
    This was precisely the them of the keynote speech, given by current First Baptist Church minister, John Waters.
    "I'm going to ask you to embrace and embody the Rotary theme of 'service above self,'"  said Waters. "The result of choices you make this day will determine whether  or not you are adding value to the lives of the community in which you live."
    Next year, Smith will celebrate his 50th as a Statesboro Rotarian. He served as president of the Rotary Club of Statesboro, following in the footsteps of his father and father-in-law before him.
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