By Kelly Smith
A year ago we ran a story on the retirement open house held for Kelly Smith who, as Director of the Newaygo County Road Commission , appeared in our pages on a regular basis to give our readers a heads up on what was on tap for their local roads.
Recently we caught up with Kelly to see how he has been faring in the year since his transition from the day to day demands of the RC to spending time (between projects and chores) contemplating what the next chapter in his life might involve.
Let me start by saying the opportunity to spend 34 plus years at Newaygo County Road Commission was one of the single most amazing things to ever happen for me. Not only did it provide for my family, it has enriched my life with many outstanding individuals that have played an integral part of my professional and personal growth, and for that I am eternally grateful. It allowed me to serve the residents in the place I have called home my entire life, a community I am proud to be a part of and I Thank You for that opportunity.
My last day as an employee of the Newaygo county road Commission was January 31 of 2020, to say a lot of things have changed since then could be considered a bit of an understatement.
We all have endured the effects of the pandemic whether it be financially, through actually contracting Covid, having someone close to you inflicted with it and the absolute worst case, possibly succumbing to it. My hearts go out to all those impacted by this horrible virus and pray for an end to its siege on everyone.
Before the “lockdown” had me searching for bath tissue and bleach wipes ( side note, you must at all cost avoid confusing those two items) Pamela and I were fortunate enough to get away to Florida for a short visit. The warm weather and beach time proved to be a nice change of pace and for the most part the only salt I was concerned with was on the rim of a fruity concoction that may or may not have had an umbrella in it.
As spring rolled around an ever growing list of “things to do” suddenly reared its ugly face. Another notable observation, it appears as though if you stop going to a regular place of employment, family and friends have a great concern that you may become bored. I can honestly say that has not been the case, the year has flown by land it seems like just yesterday I was cleaning out my desk.
As the summer months approached I found myself running out of home projects. Not that my wife stopped “suggesting” new ones, they just didn’t look to be much fun. I was fortunate enough to start a small consulting business that has been very fulfilling, but most importantly it gave me an excuse to not remodel a bathroom. More on that later.
While this small endeavor has given me the opportunity to work on projects that are vital to infrastructure, a subject that has always intrigued me and been most fulfilling, it has also allowed me to stay in contact with people striving to make a positive difference. We are so blessed in this area to have so many talented and dedicated individuals working for the betterment of our community.
As fall rolled in and leaves began to fill the yard instead of dreading the certain impacts winter weather would have on a Road Commission budget, I thought I might give it a try to enjoy the winter season. Well nope, I am still not a huge fan of winter. I thought about ice fishing for a minute, but in order for me to be confident in the integrity of the ice holding me up, it would take all day to auger through it. I’ll just get my fish at the store. It seems as though I prefer the type of outdoor activities not requiring the same attire as Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story.
And that pretty much sums up my first year post NCRC, I have contemplated trying to put into words how grateful I am for being allowed to serve the people of Newaygo County in the capacities afforded me. To be honest, I would have done it sooner and was offered the opportunity on occasion and most certainly should have put it into words sooner, except for the fact that by doing so would mean that chapter of my life has come to pass.
I just didn’t feel as though I was done yet
And maybe I’m not.
As for now, I am off to remodel a bathroom.
That is, unless I can come up with something more interesting.
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