After 28 years, Southwest Greensburg councilman Jim Smith retires
Jim Smith of Southwest Greensburg has worked for his community ever since he moved to Westmoreland County in 1964.
On Jan. 6, he will conclude 28 years of service on borough council. He is succinct when explaining why he chose not to pursue another term.
“I am 83,” he said.
His list of community service is long. Smith is a past president of the borough fire department and served for eight years as council president.
He served on the Greensburg Hempfield Area Library board and the Greater Greensburg Sewage Authority, and was a charter member of the Greater Greensburg Marine Corps League, Detachment 834.
“I like to serve, and I just thought it was my duty,” Smith said. “I'm an old Marine, and I always keep involved.”
He has been a Mason for 61 years and a Syria Shriner for 59.
In 2012, he received the Community Service Award from Hutchinson Elementary School.
Smith collected antique cars and is a former president of the Laurel Highlands Antique Car Club. At one point, he owned nine vintage vehicles, including a 1923 Reo fire truck and a 1943 Army Jeep.
“I just loved them,” he said. “I've always loved old cars.”
He restored a 1936 Packard coupe that was extensively damaged in an accident.
“It was just like it came out of the showroom, but it cost me $42,000,” Smith said.
He sold all his antique vehicles, partly because he lacked room to store them. He sold the fire truck to a man in California.
A 1932 Mack fire truck he owned with another person is in the Greensburg Fire Museum behind Greensburg City Hall.
Smith became interested in fire fighting as a boy living in Illinois. Newspapers for his paper route were dropped off at the fire station, and he watched the comings and goings of all the firefighters.
“That always excited me, when they got a fire,” Smith said. “I've always had a fascination with them, and the fascination turned into love.”
Smith moved to Pennsylvania in 1949, coming to Westmoreland County 15 years later.
He retired in 1991 as a plant operator for the sewage authority, after formerly working on the road as a pharmaceutical salesman.
Smith and his wife, Julia, are the parents of two children. They have six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Sometimes as an elected official, he has met people who just want to complain, Smith said. “But you meet a lot of nice people, too.”
As an elected leader, he added, “You can do an awful lot of good.”
He offered advice to anyone who wants to serve the community.
“You have to like to help people, for one thing,” Smith said. “And you can't be afraid of hard work. If you're going to take the job, do it to the fullest.”
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Charity walk at Twin Lakes Park seeking corporate sponsors
- Southwest Greensburg to review permit parking request
- South Greensburg residents can use cards to pay fees for trash, rentals, permits