12/09/11 — Leader lost: Former school board member put county children first

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Leader lost: Former school board member put county children first

You don't serve for as many years and in as many capacities as former Wayne County Board of Education member Lehman Smith without having some kind of passion for the community in which you live.

And for Smith, a great part of that commitment, passion and responsibility was caring for the county's children.

He was not always well-liked -- especially by people who disagreed with his opinions -- and his decisions were not always popular. He took a lot of criticism during his years on the board.

But none of that mattered to Smith.

When it came to making sure the children of Wayne County had quality schools to attend and the support they needed to grow up into productive and happy adults, Smith did not care what everybody else thought. He did what was right.

After a brave battle with cancer, we have lost Smith's leadership and his compassion for young people of all ages. Even in his private life, he created a place where children who were battling handicaps got the chance to live the dream of learning to ride.

You don't do that unless you understand just how precious every young life is -- and have a deep and abiding understanding of the responsibility that goes along with being part of their lives.

There will be others who will serve on the county board who will care about young people -- and they will be charged with making decisions about their future.

They could learn much from Lehman Smith's tenure on the board. He was a champion for the children, first and forever.

Published in Editorials on December 9, 2011 10:45 AM