Longtime volunteer Keith Smyth will be stepping from back stage to centre stage in a few weeks when he’s recognized as Trail/Warfield “Citizen of the Year” by the Knights of Columbus.
Being recognized with the honour is particularly fitting this year, as Smyth has been working behind-the-scenes for months, heralding “A Homecoming Celebration,” as volunteer operations manager for Silver City Days.
“I was surprised when I got the call last week,” Smyth said. “And was floored, pull me up a chair.”
He can’t stay seated for long, because Silver City Days is just two weeks away, and planning the revitalized event is in full swing.
“We’ve got the big picture developed and all the things we wanted to do,” he told the Trail Times on Monday. “Now it’s down to the details, getting the volunteers, meetings to show people what we are doing, and showing hospitality to all the vendors,” Smyth added. “All those kinds of meetings are going on, and of course, all the subgroups are doing their thing in the background right now.”
This latest venture, lead volunteer for the city’s largest annual celebration, is only one check on Smyth’s long list of city events he’s helped bring to life.
Smyth has been a fixture volunteer in all things sports dating back to the 1987 Canadian Little League Championship. He’s also helped put the city on the map for the Babe Ruth World Series (International, 1995) and BC Summer Games the following year. In 2001 he re-directed his attention as operations manager for the Trail Centennial Celebration, then was back in the rink organizing the 2006 Greater Trail BC Winter Games, and five years later, the West Kootenay BC Seniors’ Games.
Besides organizing large scale youth and senior sporting events on ice and in the ball park, he hasn’t been afraid to get his hands dirty, literally.
In 2009, Smyth headed a major park project, the Colombo Piazza on Rossland Avenue. Then in 2011, he was lead presenter for the Jubilee Park White Garden Project. In between those volunteering tasks, he kept busy as a key committee member for the creation of the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital heliport.
With so much ongoing passion for the community, where does Smyth’s drive come from?
It turns out, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
“There are a couple of reasons,” he said. “My father was a big contributor to town, and very involved with two major social groups, the Kinsmen and the Rotary,” Smyth explained. “He was very involved in all the planting of trees around the area, as an example, and with things like the big bingos they had in those days.
“So I think I was always around people who worked very hard for their town.”
Smyth’s career as an educator in Trail, Beaver Valley and Rossland schools also played a hand in staying involved.
“Secondly, I was in education and had a very secure work life,” he said. “And I always thought because I was getting paid by the taxpayer in a public position, I wanted to give back.”
The general public is invited to attend the award ceremony and social hour on May 3 at 7 p.m. in the St. Michael’s Elementary School gymnasium.