The Latin word “emeritus” is defined as “having served one’s time” or “having merited one’s discharge by service.” In current usage, it is a postpositive adjective used to designate a retired professor, bishop, president, prime minister or other professional. It even refers to the post-retirement status of at least one pope.
In order to recognize and salute those who have put their life’s work and dedication into The Smith Companies and have gone above and beyond their call of duty, Smith Family developed the President Emeritus award. Recipients participate in the company reward trips each year as a continued token of our appreciation for their service and dedication.
“We look forward to bestowing the honor upon others whose sacrifice and dedication benefits the growth and stability of the companies,” said Janie Smith, who, along with her children, April Patterson and Shane Smith, own and operate the Smith Companies.
Thus far, four people have been recognized and awarded this highest honor.
1st Rick Denton: Rick retired from the Honest Abe Log Homes in 2007 after having served as its President since its 1979 founding by the late Doug Smith. Under Rick’s leadership the company, located in the small rural community of Moss, became one of the nation’s most recognized log home brands. Though retired, Honest Abe continues to lean on Rick’s experience and insight as he assists with projects and consulting.
In recognition of his dedicated past, combined with his continued positive influence, Honest Abe Log Homes awarded him the honorary title of “President Emeritus.”
“Rick will always be the founding president of Honest Abe, and his success has earned him the respect and attention from its current leaders and owners,” said Josh Beasley, Honest Abe’s President since 2013.
The idea to recognize Rick with the title originated with April Smith Patterson who is Joint Operating Officer for the Smith Companies.
“It just seemed like the natural next step to take,” said April. “Rick may no longer be active in the day-to-day business of the company, but his input is greatly valued by us all. The emeritus title symbolizes not only our appreciation of his leadership in the past but also our confidence in his contributions going forward.”
2nd Donnie Smith: Longtime employee Donnie Smith was the second employee of the Smith Companies to be awarded the emeritus status. Smith was named President Emeritus of Moss Sawmills, once a division of Green Forest Wood Products. Smith was an employee of Green Forest and sister companies for 46 years until his retirement in 2018.
“Our Dad (Green Forest and Honest Abe Log Homes founder Doug Smith) was the dreamer, and Donnie has been the dream-builder here on so many projects,” said Shane Smith.
Donnie Smith constructed many of the buildings on the sprawling Moss complex through the years and often built or reconstructed many of the machines used in the various wood products companies’ manufacturing processes.
“He’s built practically every building here and has truly dedicated his life to these companies,” said April Smith Patterson. “Donnie, along with many other people, played a big part in the success of our companies.
Janie Smith, who has worked with Donnie since the beginning, added that the family always wants their team members to know they are appreciated.
3rd Jackie Cherry: Honest Abe’s VP of Manufacturing Jackie Cherry was the third employee of the Smith Company to gain emeritus status. With almost 40 years of service Jackie began at Honest Abe when it was in its infancy. He was first a mill employee. He’s been manufacturing supervisor, wood purchaser, kiln manager and most recently was named vice-president in charge of all Honest Abe’s manufacturing operations.
“Jackie has been a big contributor in the success of Honest Abe for a long, long time,” said Shane Smith. “He’s always run a very efficient manufacturing operation and was an excellent materials purchaser, too.”
April added her praise about Jackie’s work.
“Jackie has always been a team player and is well liked and respected by his co-workers and his staff,” said April. “Jackie is a major reason why Honest Abe has always been considered an industry leader.”
4th Jimmy Carr: With more than 25 years of combined service as a sales person and later president of G.F. Hardwoods, Jimmy is the fourth employee to be awarded the title of President Emeritus.
Jimmy began his career here in our home interior line and later transitioned into domestic kiln dried lumber sales where he quickly flourished into one of the leading lumber salesmen in the entire industry,” said Quentin Moss, President of G.F. Hardwoods since 2017. “He is responsible for expanding G.F. Hardwoods’ customer base not only domestically but also into the export markets.”
Jimmy became President of G.F Hardwoods in the mid-1990s, leading the company to some of the most productive and profitable years in its existence, according to Moss.
“Since retiring from the Smith Companies in May 2016, Jimmy spends time with his wonderful wife Judy and keeping up with his four grandchildren,” Moss said.
Besides spending time with his family, Jimmy enjoys working for his church, watching his favorite college football team, Florida State, and hunting with his son, Tim.
“We always want our team members to know they are appreciated,” said Janie Smith, “and this is just a small way we wanted to show Rick, Jackie, Donnie and Jimmy how much we appreciate what they’ve done for Honest Abe Log Homes.”