By Mason W. Canales
The Cove Herald
Former Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce President Marty Smith retired from the position in just her style - a three-hour social event with friends, family, associates and dinner.
"I think she has done a lot of things," said Copperas Cove Mayor John Hull, just one of several hundred people who attended. "She has put (the chamber) back on its feet. We will miss her as chamber president."
Smith definitely will be missed by the Chamber of Commerce, board chairperson Mark Peterson said. It is difficult to see the seven-year president leave her post, especially since she has made the organization financially sound.
Betty Price, who worked along Smith for five years as the organization's vice president, has assumed the position for six months and maybe longer.
Peterson said Smith brought the organization out of $65,000 in debt after she took over the position.
Smith's other accomplishments included increasing chamber membership; strongly promoting Copperas Cove; strengthening the ties between Copperas Cove and Fort Hood; bringing some quality programs to the city's visitor and tourism bureau, which is operated by the chamber; and getting organizations and businesses to participate in those events.
"She has been a good cheerleader for Copperas Cove," said Hull, noting that before Smith became chamber president, many people only thought about Killeen being connected to Fort Hood and not Copperas Cove.
"I think I have brought the (chamber) staff, the city, the economic development corporation and the school district closer together," said Smith about what she thought her accomplishments were.
During the social event - attended by visitors from Fort Hood, Harker Heights, Killeen and business owners - Texas Sen. Brian Birdwell presented Smith with a flag flown over the Capitol building on Dec. 15 in her honor.
Smith is an example of "what makes Americans so special," said Birdwell after giving her the flag. "It is just a real treat to see the service she provided. She is retiring from work but not from life."
Smith said that was true as she plans on continuing to volunteer with the chamber and other organizations. She said she will keep her seat on the chamber's military affairs committee and looks forward to starting a political action group for the chamber.
Smith is known across Central Texas for her positive attitude, her encouragement to small businesses and her networking abilities, said Marcus Carr, a member of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce.
"She has brought a lot of people together to help regulate growth," Carr said.
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474. Follow him on Twitter at KDHCoveEditor.