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University Hospital Board Chair Receives Prestigious Chamber Award
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Feb. 1, 2008 – R. Lee Smith Jr. received the first Lester S. Moody Award of Excellence tonight at the historic 100th annual meeting of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Smith, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of the CSRA, is chairman of the University Health Services Board and has served the community through various University Health System Boards since 1985.
The Lester S. Moody Award of Excellence will become an annual event to recognize one outstanding woman or man in our community who exemplifies the attributes of Lester Moody, according to J. Larry Read, president and CEO of University Health Care System, who presented Mr. Smith with the award. In his 38 years with the Augusta chamber, Mr. Moody was instrumental in many of Augusta’s defining historical turning points such as the Savannah River Site, Fort Gordon and Clarks Hill Dam.
“This recipient must display the same drive that Mr. Moody possessed for building our community to greatness,” Mr. Read said. The standards have been set high. I think you will all agree that our first recipient is focused in that direction.”
Mr. Smith is an Augusta native and University of South Carolina graduate who has spent most of his business career – 30 years – working in his hometown. He became a partner in a firm that built interstate highway systems and airport runways throughout the southeast, building the very infrastructure of communities.
Next he started an expedited freight company in Memphis, Tennessee, that utilized ground and air transportation in all 48 states and Canada as well as air and ocean transportation worldwide.
Under his leadership since 1998, the CSRA Community Foundation has awarded nearly 3,000 grants totaling $17.3 million to provide much needed services in our community -- transportation and childcare, services to the homeless, assistance with job training, after-school programs and activities for our children, and countless other benefits to our community.
“His wisdom guides decisions every day that affect the lives of thousands across the Greater Augusta area,” Mr. Read said. “When you drive by either our downtown or Evans campus and see the dramatic expansion that has taken place, look closely because you will see our recipient's fingerprints all over these two campuses.”
Mr. Smith volunteers his time and talents to numerous other organizations. He is on at least 12 corporate boards and is an active member of several other civic and charity organizations, ranging in scope from the United Way to banking to health care.
“He is admired and respected by all who have the privilege of knowing him,” Mr. Read said. “He is known personally and professionally by countless people across the southeast, and yet he is never too busy to send a personal note to acknowledge an accomplishment or to share a word of encouragement. He is truly one of Augusta’s most distinguished citizens -- one of our best ambassadors and a real cheerleader for Augusta. He is most deserving of the first Lester Moody Award of Excellence.”