Retired Dowagiac teacher wins state fair awardPublished 4:30pm Tuesday, February 5, 2013
BERRIEN SPRINGS — A retired Dowagiac teacher’s 43 years of volunteer service at Berrien County Youth Fair earned him one of six state “Heritage Awards” at the 128th annual Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions January convention in Grand Rapids.
“If I’d been standing up when they announced it, I’d probably have dropped my drawers,” Les Smith said after Monday night’s fair board meeting.
Smith, who lives north of Niles, taught fifth grade at Kincheloe and Patrick Hamilton during a 26-year career which ended in 2001.
Smith, president of the fair association from 1990 to 1994, currently chairs commercial exhibits, youth exhibits and judges.
“Like many of us, Les grew up loving the fair,” President Bruce Foster said. “He not only talked the talk, but he walked the walk. He dedicated his life to the success of the Berrien County Youth Fair and the youth in our county through his timeless efforts to teach and lead the leaders of tomorrow.”
“Les’s volunteer hours are too numerous to count,” Foster added, “but if he wasn’t working, he was volunteering. (This is) fitting recognition for 43 years of dedicated service to the Berrien County Youth Fair.”
There are more than 80 fairs and festivals throughout Michigan.