CALUMET - After visiting the Copper Country for years, Laura Smyth and her husband, Elmore Reese, decided to move to the area in 2007 from Montclair, N.J., and eventually they got involved with community efforts, including Main Street Calumet.
Smyth, who is MSC promotions committee chair, was named MSC Volunteer of the Year Wednesday during a dinner at Carmelita's Restaurant in Calumet.
During his announcement of the award, Tom Tikkanen, MSC executive director, said although Smyth is a transplant to the Calumet area, she became "totally immersed" in the community.
Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Laura Smyth, center in black shirt, receives the Main Street Calumet Volunteer of the Year award Wednesday at Carmelita’s Southwestern Grille restaurant. Standing with Smyth, who is MSC promotions committee chair, are, from left rear, MSC volunteers and past award winners Joan LaRoche, Kara Sokol and David Rheault. On the right is Tom Tikkanen, MSC executive director.
"In the course of the last few years, she has become a community leader," he said.
As promotions committee chair, Tikkanen said Smyth has been able to do much for MSC with relatively little funds. He gave as an example Smyth's efforts in getting donations from community members for the MSC goodie bag at Christmas time when the organization was low on funds.
"That's one example of having next to nothing and getting it done," he said.
Tikkanen said Smyth also developed a promotional T-shirt for MSC with the phrase "Sisu is our natural resource," printed on it, which he didn't at first like, but came to appreciate, as did many community members.
"People love these things," he said holding up one of the T-shirts.
After the presentation of the award certificate, Smyth said she became promotions committee chair in 2010 after her predecessor, Kara Sokol, asked her to take the position.
Smyth is involved with two publishing companies, Thimbleberry Press and Mudminnow Press, and she will soon be starting a graphic design business, SmythType.
Being named MSC volunteer of the year is important to her, Smyth said.
"This is really sweet," she said. "I feel like part of the community. (Main Street Calumet) is the lifeblood of this area."