The Nehemiah Foundation honored Joyce Smith of Springfield, Ohio with the 2019 Sara T. Landess Community Spirit Award at the annual Winter Reception. Joyce has touched countless lives in Clark County without meeting the majority of them. Joyce was nominated by H.O.P.E. Ministries Executive Director, Jackie Mounts, who presented the award to her at the Nehemiah annual event on Thursday, February 27, 2020.
Jackie wrote, “She often asks, what do you need? She encourages me in ways she does not even realize. Joyce’s heart is so pure, service should be her middle name. I cannot imagine a person who reflects a community spirit award more than Joyce. Her desire to work behind the scenes with no accolades or thank-yous reflects her servant’s heart. At 80, she works circles around most of us. During a time in her life when she could be spending it investing in Joyce, she chooses to invest in others, many times in spite of physical issues she must press through. She looks for needs and then does whatever she can to meet that need. I believe that if she had had the opportunity to meet Sara Landess, they would have been friends. They shared the same serving spirit. I truly believe we would have difficulty finding someone who has touched more lives in this community in a tangible way than Joyce Smith.”
For the past nine years, Joyce has served H.O.P.E. Ministries behind the scenes, hosting craft shows, creating items for silent auctions, and organizing open houses to benefit H.O.P.E. and Children’s Rescue Center. She has made countless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, provided kool-aid, purchased winter clothes and hygiene items for students in need, supported the annual H.O.P.E. Golf Scramble, and so much more. Jackie remembers a time that Joyce even required her own children to bring items to donate to H.O.P.E. when they visited her.
In addition, Joyce has served the Salvation Army since 2012, filling hundreds of bags for the homeless, counting kettle change, and providing gift bags for adults and children. She served on the Board of Directors for Forging Responsible Youth from 2002-2009. She has been part of the decorating team at Maiden Lane Church and was honored as Servant of the Month at Maiden Lane. She served as a member of the Board of Directors of Victorian village Condo Association from 2004 – 2018. Joyce also hosts a weekly neighborhood Bible study in her home and has served on the St. Raphael’s school board where she started the hot lunch program and taught arts and crafts.
Joyce was married to the love of her life, Myron Smith, who was a former School Superintendent. Together, they raised four children and were foster parents from 1989 – 2002 serving 17 children and adopting two of them.
About the Award: Sara T. Landess had a heart and a passion for kids in our community. On April 17, 2005, Sara went to be with the Lord after a courageous battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Sara lived out the John Wesley quote: “Do all the good you can, In all the ways you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as you ever can, In all the places you can.” Founded in 2006, The Nehemiah Foundation strives to honor Sara and the Lord with this award by remembering her passion for Springfield and serving in the community and honoring others who do the sam