By Mayor Tammy
Meridian is an amazing community made up of a variety of talented individuals many who use their talents to benefit our community in a number of ways. Often referred to as “silent leaders,” these individuals are the faces you see countless times in our community at a variety of events, serving not for recognition, but rather to make their home a better place. These silent leaders deserve the recognition for laying the groundwork for our community, giving us much to celebrate today in Meridian.
Recently the City of Meridian lost one of those silent leaders, a precious member of our community, with the passing of Terry Smith. Terry was a long-time businessman and active volunteer; he represented the best of our community. I truly believe there is not a person in Meridian that wasn’t touched by Terry in one form or another – whether they knew it or not. Terry was all the things our community stands for, a true pillar in our town and known by many as “Mr. Meridian.”
Terry Smith was a man of faith, a man who loved his family. He was a banker, Meridian Kiwanis leader, President of and ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce, involved in preserving and sharing our rich history, a believer and supporter of youth and a train enthusiast. Terry was a community advocate and the energy behind projects such as the Eagle Road interchange, Generations Plaza, the creation of the urban renewal district, the Main Street LID that brought street trees and sidewalks…and dare I mention, the Split corridor and the years of debate. He was known through his service on countless committees and philanthropic involvements as an individual who unselfishly dedicated his entire life to the community and others. Terry was truly a man who has made a significant difference in our community! Personally, he was my mentor; he was truly an inspiration.
Like many of our residents, Terry had an opinion and he would often share it without solicitation. What made Terry unique was that not only did he always have great points to argue and loved a debate, he always had what was best in mind for his community…for our community.
His passion for Meridian and youth drove his heart, mind, and deeds in his efforts which were always to build a better Meridian. Our community is indebted to this man. We all have a responsibility to pick up where he left off. In his example - in his memory – get more involved; be a voice, make a difference in our community doing what you are passionate about. Like Terry, passion and conviction are essential ingredients in choosing your involvement. I also imagine Terry would say – don’t just talk about it, do it.
People like Terry have encouraged me to celebrate Meridian and be involved. And it is all the people and groups that are involved in our community that make us unique. I encourage and challenge you to honor Terry’s legacy, the legacy of a solid community leader, by becoming more involved in Meridian. Find your passion and use it to make a difference.
I often refer to the popular “Starfish Story” by Loren Eisely. The story is about a young boy who is seen returning starfish to the ocean as the tide was going out. The boy is working feverishly in an effort to save as many starfish as possible, when the narrator questions how he can possibly save every starfish due to the countless miles of beaches. At this, the boy bends down, picks up another starfish, and throws it into the ocean. As it meets the water, he says, "It made a difference for that one."
We all have the opportunity to serve and to make a difference whether it is big or small. If you know of an individual who is making a difference in Meridian, I want to hear about it. Email me at MayorTammy@meridiancity.org and together we can celebrate the silent leaders who are leaving a legacy and making Meridian the premier place to live, work and raise a family.