Three individuals awarded Smarr-Smith scholarships at South Georgia Technical College LEA graduation
Americus, GA – Three Smarr-Smith scholarships were awarded at the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy Class 18 – 01 graduation ceremony held in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center on the SGTC Americus campus recently.
Law Enforcement Academy Cadet King W. Mitchell of Americus, who has been hired by the Americus Police Department, was selected as the recipient of the Smarr-Smith Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship. POST-certified officers Antoinette L. Johnson of Americus with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office and Emerson R. Lundy of Vienna with the Dooly County Sheriff’s Office were both awarded Smarr-Smith Criminal Justice Scholarships. They are currently working towards an associate degree in criminal justice at South Georgia Tech.
The Smarr-Smith endowed scholarships at South Georgia Technical College were created in memory of fallen Americus Police Officer Nicholas R. Smarr and Georgia Southwestern State University Campus Safety Officer Jody C. Smith. The endowments were created by the Smarr-Smith foundation, private individuals, and an anonymous donor. Sharon Smith Johnson, mother of fallen officer Jody Smith, and her husband, Paul, and SGTC Foundation Trustee and retired judge George Peagler were on hand at the ceremony to help award the three scholarships.
“Before I came to the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy, I knew that a law enforcement career wasn’t your average job where you could work Monday through Friday, have weekends off, and go on 3 – 4 vacations a year. I knew that this was a career where you put your life on the line every day, a career where even as a civilian you still carry a target on your back, a career where you possess the power to change individuals lives with a simple traffic ticket. I knew that this career came with many dangerous areas to walk in,” said King Mitchell, who added that the reason so many are dedicated to this field is because they have HEART. “They have the heart to run towards danger instead of running away from it, the heart to be a servant to the community, the heart to step into a career when the hard work is hardly appreciated.”
Mitchell joined the Law Enforcement Academy for those same reasons. “I realized that I have a passion to help and serve others. I am alive and content with life when I am able to help another person. I grew up having very little, yet I am still humble for what I had, knowing others had less. I developed a mindset that I would never complain about my misfortune because somebody has it worst. This mentality encourages me to do what I can to render aid because I do not want to see someone struggle as I once had. I consider this field not just as a career but as a calling. I am willing to dedicate my hard work and time into this field,” said Mitchell.
The 18-01 LEA graduate plans to continue his education. “I believe that to succeed in this field, you should continuously expand your knowledge and training so that you can position yourself in safer situations. I am so grateful to receive this scholarship because it will help me with books, equipment and tools that I will utilize to help me perform my future job duties while also becoming a more proficient law enforcement officer in this line of work.”
The other two scholarship recipients, Antoinette Johnson and Emerson Lundy are currently enrolled at South Georgia Technical College in the Criminal Justice program and plan to use the Smarr-Smith Scholarships to complete their Associate Degree.
Lundy, who is with the Dooly County Sheriff’s Office, said he was honored and humbled to be given such a distinct recognition. “I would like to thank all who have had an active involvement in my continued education. Without the constant words of encouragement, my dreams would have faded out of existence,” said Lundy.
“It is my hope, my wishes and dream that I be able to use this scholarship to help further my education, career, and life goals. With this honorable award I will be able to continue to give back to my community and all surrounding areas,” said Lundy.
Antoinette Johnson has been with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office since 2006. She started her career within the Civil Division and then transferred to the School Resource Division. “I am very enthusiastic and passionate about school resource. I feel that I am a positive role model for the children and I have found myself being a mentor to many of them throughout my years of employment,” said Johnson. “I feel that by continuing my education, it will help further my career and the opportunity to be an even better role model for the individuals I serve. Thank you so much for this opportunity.”
“It is very fitting that we recognized these three individuals as well as the Law Enforcement graduates and their families during National Police Week,” said South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford. “We hope that the memory of Nick Smarr and Jody Smith will continue to live on through the lives of those individuals as well as others that this scholarship helps.
“We all regret that this scholarship opportunity had to come at the expense of the lives of two outstanding South Georgia Technical College students and law enforcement officers,” said Dr. Watford. “Our hearts will continue to go out to the family and friends of Officers Smarr and Smith. But it is our prayer that this gift will assist other POST certified officers who wish to continue their education. We hope that the fine men and women who earn these scholarships will honor the memories of Officers Smith and Smarr through their service to our citizens.”
Nicholas Smarr and Jody Smith, both attended the South Georgia Technical College Criminal Justice Program. Smarr attained his Associate of Applied Science Degree in June of 2011 and became a certified law enforcement officer in 2012. Jody Smith had attended South Georgia Tech in 2010 and had returned in 2016 to begin completing his Criminal Justice associate degree.
Five Smarr-Smith scholarships have been awarded since the scholarships were endowed. Charles Kinnamon and Adam O’Neal were the first two scholarship recipients. For more information about making a donation to the SGTC Foundation or endowing a scholarship at South Georgia Technical College, contact Su Ann Bird, Executive Director of the SGTC Foundation and Vice President of Institutional Advancement at 229.931.2110 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Contributions may also be mailed to the SGTC Foundation, P.O. Box 6102, Americus, GA. Additional donations can be added to the Smarr-Smith Scholarship fund and all donations will be recognized and shared with members of the Smith and Smarr families.