March 9, 2011
LIMA — Any questions about the success of David Smith’s retirement can be answered with a peak at his calendar.The retired school counselor leafs through a green, pocket-sized schedule book and all you see is ink. Every day, every page, as far as he can flick, filled with dates and times of volunteer responsibilities. It is literally a schedule with no time left. “That’s what our days look like,” he said with a touch of resignation. “My wife likes to say, no mater what comes up, ‘Dave will do it.’ That’s just the way it is. I have a hard time saying no.”Smith’s inability to say ‘no’ is good news to a variety of groups happy to have him helping out. The list of organizations he helps with his time and organizational skills runs for more than a page: Elida Optimists, Allen County Historical Society, Elida Breakfast Club, Allen County Fair and Immanuel United Methodist Church to name just a few. But the largest portion of his time is spent volunteering in area schools, a predictable turn for a man who spent more than three decades as a teacher and guidance counselor at Elida schools. “Working with the kids has always been the most gratifying work for me. You get to see the growth, the way they improve from the beginning of the school year to the end. That’s rewarding,” Smith said.In addition to his years working in the schools, Smith has served on the boards of both Elida and Apollo schools as well as the Northwest Ohio School Board Association and the Ohio School Board Association. He spends two days a week tutoring children at Shawnee Maplewood School. At Elida, he does everything from serve on the school foundation board to working as a remedial reading assistant for the Helping One Student To Succeed program.On top of all that, he works as a volunteer for the Real Money, Real World program, a hands-on educational program aimed at teaching children how to make smart choices about lifestyle and money.“They learn what it feels like to go through a monthly budget and pay the bills. They see how fast they can end up with no money left. And hopefully they understand when they say, ‘Mom, can I have this?’ why the money might not be available.”Smith may work with other people’s children, but his own kids have picked up on the lesson. His nomination for this year’s Jefferson Award came courtesy of his daughter and son.“He has volunteered in some manner wherever and whenever needed for as long as we have known him,” said his daughter, Laurie Smith Notestine. “His passion is to give back to the community which has given him so much. One of his core values is ‘Pay it forward.’ There is no doubt he has fulfilled this mission to the fullest, in the schools, community and in out family.”You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.