Thursday, September 3, 2009
Smoot new public works director
By SUE WATSON
He’s 56 and has spent 38 years in the construction business in Memphis.
Just weeks ago he took over the position of public works director for the town of Byhalia, following the retirement of William Rose.
Gary Smoot is glad to be working at home for the hometown he never left. He gets to live on the 30-acre home place with his sister and his family - a place where he learned to work, raising cows and growing gardens, no big farming, just big enough to eat and survive.
Smoot attended Byhalia High School until the 11th grade, then graduated from Marshall Academy. He had planned to work the summer in construction and then go to college.
“I graduated on a Monday and went to work the next Saturday with intentions of going to college that fall,” he said. “But I liked what I was doing and I stayed with it.”
Construction work is no bed of roses, but Smoot likes to just get up and get busy on what needs doing for the day.
He had worked the 38 years in construction starting out as a heavy equipment operator, then working 25 years as foreman and the last five years as site superintendent. But in his mind, Smoot was working toward coming back home.
“This job became available and it is too early for me to retire, so I applied for it and got it. So here I am,” he said.
Smoot was on the job just a few weeks he got introduced in a big way to public works by the tornado that blew through Church Street, Mayor Phil Malone said. He said he’s glad to have Smoot on board.
“I got introduced to the town of Byhalia real suddenly,” Smoot said.
But director of public works is just another job in which Smoot said he will do what needs to be done daily and make the best of it.
General maintenance daily on the utility system and the long-term plans to improve and update the system for future growth is what he said he is working for.
“I will be serving the public and getting ready for more people coming in,” he said.
Smoot is the son of Charles and the late Louise Smoot of Byhalia. His father lives in Barton with wife Bobbie.
Smoot married Paula Mitchell of Holly Springs about two years after graduation from high school. They have two children and three grandchildren with two more on the way.
Paula Smoot works for Citizens Bank in Byhalia. The Smoots’ daughter, Stephanie Boren, works as a nurse for Methodist Hospital Germantown and has three children and one on the way. The Smoots’ son Chuck, works for Centurytel in Olive Branch and he and his wife are expecting their first child this winter.
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