Judy Smith thought she knew who was going to win the Volunteer of the Year award from the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, but she was proved wrong.
“I was very surprised,” she said, after receiving the award herself.
Smith regularly volunteers at the chamber and a host of other organizations, not to mention helping people in her church.
Back in 1999, she figured she would kick back and relax after retiring from a career with the federal government and moving to Payson.
But she found retirement just did not suit her.
“I’m not a good retired person,” she said.
Smith has volunteered for CASA, the chamber, the Electric Light Parade, the Tonto Community Concert Association, the Business Showcase, the Zane Grey Cabin Museum, and the Rodeo Parade.
She has also worked for the Casino, a local investment company and the Chamber — all after retiring. She also remains active in her church, frequently spending long hours helping people with medical and other challenges. She said she enjoys keeping busy.
“It keeps me active and healthy,” said Smith.
This past year, she pulled back a little to stay at home to help her husband.
Pulling back means continuing to help the Tonto Community Concert Association (TCCA) from home, registering Electric Light Parade entrants, still volunteering at the Chamber.
Smith said it’s never boring at the Chamber. “It’s unbelievable what people ask,” she said. “They will call up and ask, ‘Is it going to snow?’”
She said she had one lady call up on a regular basis just to confirm what day of the week it was.
“For a long time every week we would get a call from a lady who asked what day it was. It happened to me and a lot of people. She would call and ask, ‘Is today Wednesday?’” she said.
Smith loves helping people discover the Rim Country.
She and her father invested in the area early. “I bought my first place in 1978 along with my father,” she said.
Just three years later, he passed and she took over his house, which was next to hers. She would rent out her house and used his as a hotel, filling it with guests most weekends.
“I enjoy meeting the people who are moving here and the people going through town,” said Smith.
Recently, she helped a couple from New Jersey. Smith said they came in to the Chamber and asked about a TCCA concert they saw on a flyer. Since Smith is on the board, she had a couple of free tickets.
“I gave the tickets to them and they enjoyed the concert,” said Smith.
Promoting and sharing what the Rim Country can offer made Smith the perfect choice for the Volunteer of the Year in 2013.