Herb Smith's barn project was exemplary volunteerism
By Bob Weaver
"Herb Smith made a memorable contribution to his community, driving his old black '66 station wagon loaded with tools and supplies to the park and turning a hay-barn into a community asset," said Roger Jarvis, longtime member of the Calhoun County Park Board.
Smith is now being recognized, the park's community building has been named in his honor - the Herbert C. Smith Community Building.
During the 1980s, Calhoun officials took a giant leap for the rural county, creating the Calhoun Parks and Recreation Board to develop one of the finest park areas for future use of the young and old.
There was land clearing, grading, road building, pond development, and the construction of playgrounds and shelters.
The large old barn on the property was two stories, measuring 32 x 81 feet, with a huge hay loft with lots of hay.
"Around that time Herb (pictured left) had retired from his auto repair business and had started playing the guitar," said Jarvis.
Smith wanted a place for his fellow musicians to play. He often spent six days a week working on the barn, designing and building the framing for the decks and a support system for the second floor.
He was proud of the large second story room, saying "You could but a bulldozer up there."
Herb engineered everything from the heating system to the flooring, always asking for donations of materials for the project. The final cost of the facility was about $15,000, a real bargain with donated labor.
A number of people worked with Herb, Rick Butt, Benny Jones, Harry Curry, Roger Jarvis, Keith Smith, Kitty Wilson and the Boy Scouts.
"From 1986 through 1989, the work went on," Jarvis said.
"We are long overdue in honoring Herb for making an old hay barn into an impressive, valuable community building," he concluded.