Eustace Henry Smith '42 (Awarded--September 2007)
Dr. Eustace H. Smith of the Class of 1942, for sixty-five years you have served the needs of others with little regard for recognition, notoriety, or financial gain. You have, by the very definition of the Kuykendall Award for Community Service, provided extraordinary service to your community, demonstrating leadership through servanthood in the spirit of John W. Kuykendall, Davidson's fifteenth president.
The son of the Reverend Roy Smith of the Class of 1910, you were the second of three brothers to attend Davidson. Raised in rural Virginia, you worked your way through Davidson by washing dishes and typing papers. Your uncle, Eustace H. Sloop, valedictorian of the Class of 1897, was a great influence on your early life and sparked your interest in both medicine and Davidson College. Upon graduation in 1942, you enlisted in the U.S. Navy with the hope of becoming a pilot. Had your eyesight been better at the time, the medical community and the citizens of Crossnore and Avery County would have been deprived of one of their greatest protectors. Turned away from flight school, you entered the Navy Medical Corps and served as a medic in the Pacific Theatre, and you were with the Second Marine Division as it captured Tinian Island.
Upon returning stateside you enrolled at the Medical College of Virginia, graduating in 1950 with your M.D. Turning down opportunities to practice medicine in more affluent, higher-profile, and higher-paying locales, in 1951 you arrived in Crossnore to take up family practice with your uncle and cousin; it began a relationship with that community that has lasted more than fifty years and has time and again demonstrated your willingness to serve the common good and the best interests of those for whom you care. You raised your own family in Crossnore, and saw two of your four children graduate from Davidson. For decades you labored in one of the smallest and poorest counties in North Carolina, dedicating your career to Sloop Memorial Hospital. Many of your patients had little access to qualified medical care, and you took countless cases under your wing through six decades. On emergency call for forty-two years, you served your people day and night, in the office, in the hospital, and in their living rooms, with the clear mission of providing care and compassion to those who most needed it. Over your career you have delivered more than three thousand babies, and have served multiple generations of numerous families in the area. You additionally cared for residents at two local nursing homes and were the volunteer medical director of the Avery County hospice center for twenty years. Officially “retiring” in 2005, you continued to care for your community well beyond the age most individuals are enjoying their retirement.
In recognition of your career and your remarkable contributions to your community, both the lobby of the Sloop Medical Plaza and the new Avery County Health Department were named in your honor, Avery County designated a “Dr. E. H. Smith Day,” a scholarship bearing your name was established at Davidson College, and you were presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest civilian honor for extraordinary service.
Dr. Eustace H. Smith, for the unfailing dedication you have shown to the residents of Crossnore and Avery County, for the gentle and compassionate care you have provided to countless people in need, and for a lifetime devoted to serving your fellow man, Davidson College is proud to present you with the John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service.