Former Commissioner Remembered

People in Chatham County are remembering one of their former leaders with a special memorial. Chatham County commissioners dedicated the 1.47 mile path around Lake Mayer Regional Park as the "Julie Backus Smith Trail" this morning.

Smith served as a Chatham County commissioner from 1988 to 1992. She was also a member of the Board of Directors for the Matthew Reardon Center and Backus Children's Hospital, chairman of Tidelands and an advocate for the Chatham/Savannah Citizens Advocacy. She died in December 2003.

Commissioners say naming the trail in her honor is a fitting tribute. Smith helped found the Savannah Striders Running Club. She also ran several marathons including the Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon and the Grandfather Mountain Marathon. Additionally, Smith worked to increase recreational opportunities in Chatham County.

"She was a good person who cared about people and cared about what happened to her community," said Chatham County Commissioner Frank Murray, "This is kind of sad, in that she's no longer with us, but we can name something for her so she can be remembered."

Chatham County will also sponsor a race in Smith's honor. The first annual Julie Backus Smith Memorial 5K run/walk will take place at Lake Mayer this September.

Reported by: Liz Flynn,