Smithfield Mayor Carter Williams named 2021 ‘Citizen of the Year’

Published 6:47 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Smithfield Mayor Carter Williams remembers attending the town’s inaugural Citizen of the Year award ceremony where Dr. Al Rogers was recognized for his role in founding the Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad.

Now, as the Smithfield Ruritan and Rotary clubs’ annual award celebrates its 50th anniversary, it’s Williams’ turn in the spotlight.

Since 1970, the two clubs have jointly recognized an outstanding Smithfield citizen. The club would have celebrated the award’s 50th anniversary in 2020 were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic. Past recipients of the award include former Smithfield Foods Chairman Joseph W. Luter III, Smithfield Times Publisher Emeritus John B. Edwards and the late Segar “Sig” Cofer Dashiell, author of “Smithfield: A Pictorial History.”

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Williams’ son, Allen, nominated his father for the 2021 award, citing his many years of service on Smithfield’s Town Council.

Williams has served as mayor since 2012, having begun his Town Council tenure with a four-year term from 1992-1996. He rejoined the council in 2007 to fill a vacant seat, during which time he was “instrumental in securing Windsor Castle Park for the Town,” his son writes.

Williams then “worked feverishly” to secure property for the Joseph W. Luter Jr. Sports Complex, and has been involved “from its beginnings” in the town’s Pinewood Heights relocation project. The years-long project involves gradually transforming the former residential neighborhood behind the Smithfield Foods meatpacking plants into an industrial park.

Williams also chairs the Benn’s United Methodist Church Council and volunteers with Smithfield’s Kiwanis Club and local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts.

“Mayor Williams can be seen at (Windsor Castle Park) almost daily, where he walks/runs several miles,” his son writes. “He also spends countless hours as a WCP ‘Trail Doctor,’ a group of volunteers to keep up the maintenance and cleanliness of the park.”

Williams said he was “flabbergasted” and “humbled” when he found out in February that he would be this year’s award recipient.

“I just love Smithfield, I really do,” Williams said. “It’s a wonderful little town.”

Williams will be honored with a catered dinner on April 27 at The Smithfield Center. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and will feature local speakers and a 15-minute video about Williams life accomplishments and interests.

There will be 150 tickets available for purchase from the Rotary or Ruritan clubs for $50 per person. The clubs also plan to invite past Citizen of the Year recipients to celebrate the award’s 50th anniversary.