“Matt is an active community member. He is available to work on projects for town organizations; he’s available to his friends to help out when they need something. Matt contributes so much to our community. He simply makes Highland a better place to live,” said Service Above Self Event Chair Alan Van De Bogart.
Smith is perhaps best known for his work as Project Director of Bob Shepard Highland Landing Park, the sole public Hudson River access for the Town of Lloyd and several surrounding hamlets. Smith began advocating for a public park in the 1990s, inspiring the Town Board and its citizens to consent to the purchase of 1.7 acres of riverfront property in 2008. As President of the Highland Landing Association, he led hundreds of volunteers in the land’s rehabilitation, helping to secure more than $1 million in grants and over $100,000 in donated labor. The park opened June 27, 2009 while work continued. Once completed, Highland Landing will boast a new bulkhead, deep water dock, canoe/kayak launch and educational center for use by local school districts.
Smith also served as President of the Highland Downtown Business Association for eight years; an active board member of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail Association for several years; Zoning Board of Appeals member for three years; Transportation Safety Board for four years; Economic Development Committee for four years; and the Water and Sewer Committee for three years; and member of the Board of Directors of the Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society for two years.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find someone in the town whose service to the community is so widespread. I keeping running into neighbors who say, ‘Matt helped do this,’ or ‘Matt helped with that.’ He seems to take the idea of being a good neighbor far and wide,” said Rotarian Rafael Diaz.
The Rotarians chose Smith from several Service Above Self nominees in a democratic vote.
Previous recipients of the Service Above Self award are: 2004, Sal Timperio; 2005, Mary Gardner; 2006, Carole CrimiVaroli; 2007, Lillian Mertes; 2008, Caren Milano; 2009, Vito DiSpensa; 2010, George Georgeokopolis.
To buy tickets or for more information, call Alan Van De Bogart at 691-8842.