By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Robert Smith has attended more than half of the Dr. Martin Luther King Banquet and Black-Tie affairs, but never had the view he enjoyed Saturday night.
Smith, a Shannon businessman and former alderman, was awarded the annual Community Service award at the 10th annual Black-Tie Affair. Smith said he’s always enjoyed attending and congratulating the past winners of the award, but now that it was his turn to be in the spotlight he didn’t know quite how to handle it.
“It’s a great honor to say the least,” said Smith. “I just thank those who even considered me. I have always loved my community and have done everything to try to uplift it. But my wife Flora is the real award-winner because she is the reason for all my success in the community.”
Smith is owner of the Dairy Bar in Shannon and has been since 1962. He served five terms on the Shannon Board of Aldermen and was vice mayor for two of those terms. Smith said because Shannon was such a good community, he dedicated his life to serving it.
Dozens attended the event held at St. Paul Life Center on Front Street. The keynote speaker was Augustus L. Collins, one of three commissioners for the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission and retired military leader. Collins said he enjoyed seeing so many people of all races show up to honor the occasion and the MLK holiday.
“The King holiday is celebration for all Americans of all races,” said Collins. “Anyone who lives in this great country should thank Dr. King because he fought for the civil rights of everyone. It’s good to see everyone together to celebrate this great day for this great man. I am honored to have been asked to speak on such an occasion.”
Banquet participants enjoyed good music, food and fellowship.
Lucy Anderson of Tupelo said getting to dress up for a night was well-worth getting out in the rain.
“It’s not often I get to dust off my fur coats and pearl earrings, so when this event comes around I’m always excited,” said Anderson. “It is one of the biggest social events of the year, so I try to make it count.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org