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People

Oak Crest issues 2008 good samaritan award


Each year, Oak Crest DeKalb Area Retirement Center presents an award to someone in the community who cares for others beyond the normal compassion of most people; a person who actively participates in various community organizations and combines community service with personal caring; a person who works quietly to better the lives of others, according to a news release. This year, Oak Crest acknowledged the efforts of Beryl Smith. Having spent most of his life in DeKalb, Smith has led through example and many community organizations have benefited from his willingness to share his time and talents. An active member of First United Methodist Church of DeKalb, Smith currently serves on its board of trustees, as well as the church's foundation committee. A fellow church member described Smith as, “a good-hearted guy who is very generous and giving.” This same person said there was a time when a young college woman from the church was suffering financial hardships and that the Smiths opened their home and hearts to her, and for the next several years, she lived with them until she graduated from college. When she announced her engagement, she called and asked Smith to walk her down the aisle. He did. To this day, they remain friends and her children refer to Smith as “grandpa,” the release said. Smith's community involvement extended to the DeKalb County Board, where he served as an elected member and currently is a member of the Public Building Commission advising the county board on building projects and repairs to county property. He is a 30-year member of the Kishwaukee Kiwanis Club and served as president of the organization in the 1980s. He remains active in the club and participates in many club projects and events. When a project is adopted, his fellow club members know Smith can be counted on to lend a hand, the release said. Smith has worked on projects at the Children's Learning Center, The Growing Place, The Salvation Army and Corn Fest, to name a few. In addition to all of this, Smith has made time to assist with the Voluntary Action Center's Meals on Wheels program, delivering meals to seniors. Smith has been a strong advocate for the importance of education, the release said. To ensure that education is accessible to everyone, Smith has been a long-standing contributor to the Northern Illinois University Foundation. Smith's willingness to serve also included 12 years as a member of the Oak Crest Board of Trustees, where he served as president from 1990-1992. Smith's commitment to the organization did not end when his term expired. The kind of person who sees a project through until the end, he willingly remained with the expansion committee and played an integral role in the planning and construction of the Howard and Mildred Eychaner Health Care Center, the release said. Smith's love for his community is genuine and is exemplified in so many ways, the release said. His active volunteer involvement in the community spans many years and so many organizations have benefited from his leadership and participation. Community service - be it to his church, his neighbors or his community - Smith is recognized as the kind of man who leads by example, the release said. Smith and his wife Cherie have three children and three grandchildren. Smith was honored at a dinner attended by Oak Crest residents, board members, staff and family. Oak Crest is located at 2944 Greenwood Acres Drive in DeKalb. For more information about Oak Crest, contact Liz Hoppenworth at 815-756-8461 or e-mail at lhoppenworth@oakcrestdekalb.org.

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