Written by Harriett Williams, administrative assistant with the Americus Fire & Emergency Services in Americus, Ga. Williams provided the photos and story in this blog as part of her “One Country. One Flag.” April submission about what the U.S. flag and being an American means to her department. She was the April winner of our deluxe Beacon® U.S. flag set. You may submit your favorite American flag display photos and stories to qualify to win a flag set in May 2021 or June 2021 at: /one-country-one-flag
In December 2016, our small town was rocked by the line-of-duty deaths of two local Law Enforcement Officers, Jody Smith and Nick Smarr. Not only were these two in the brotherhood of LEO's, they had been best friends since childhood. People from all over the Southeast attended their funerals, and my department, the Americus Fire & Emergency Services, was honored to display our flag for both funeral processions.
Jody Smith and Nick Smarr met in 2006, as students at the Americus Sumter High School, and quickly became fast friends. After graduating high school in 2009, they graduated together in 2012 from the Police Academy, and began their Law Enforcement careers.
On December 7, 2016, Officer Smarr, working for the Americus Police Department, responded to a domestic call. Officer Smith, working for the Georgia Southwestern State University Department of Public Safety, responded as back-up. At the incident location, the two officers pursued a suspect on foot. The suspect turned and fired on the officers, hitting each one in the head. Officer Smarr was pronounced dead that day, at the local hospital. Officer Smith was flown to a trauma center in Macon, Ga., where he died the next day. The suspect committed suicide, after being cornered in his girlfriend's house.
Officer Smith was able to perform one last heroic act: he became an organ donor to several individuals in need. Officer Smarr was posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. In 2017, the Georgia Southwestern State University Department of Public Safety Building was named the “Nicholas Smarr & Jody Smith Memorial Building.” Also, a network website, “The Smarr and Smith Foundation” hosts events to raise money to purchase safety equipment for law enforcement agencies. The funerals of these two officers united members of our community, and others from around the state and country, not only through grief and outrage, but they also provided comfort, and hope of a better world.
The top picture (with the large tree) was taken at Officer Jody Smith's funeral. The middle picture was from Officer Nick Smarr's funeral. The bottom picture, of the flag and our apparatus, was taken at a local Charter School's Veterans Day celebration.
We here at the Americus Fire & Emergency Services are proud to be able to display “Old Glory” whenever we can. We proudly display our flag for many other events, such as Veterans Day celebrations, local festivals and parades, honoring visiting dignitaries, etc. The American flag brings our community together, to honor the memory of our fallen, to celebrate the unity of our citizens, and to promise us hope for our future.