Home Local News Friends remember former Salvation Army Corps officer Smith

Friends remember former Salvation Army Corps officer Smith

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Enthusiastic. Passionate. Welcoming. Forthright. Motivated.

These terms and more were used this week to describe Maj. Lisa Smith, the former Corps Officer for the Salvation Army in Hobbs. After learning this week of her death in Wheat Ridge, Colo., in February, the News-Sun reached out to the people and organizations in Hobbs Smith worked with closely. She was 60.

“She was a sweetheart,” said Lorena Castillo, 2-1-1 Program Coordinator for United Way of Lea County in Hobbs. “If someone needed help, she would truly go above and beyond to try to get them connected. She just had a heart of gold and a big love for Christ.”

David Reed, senior program officer for the J.F. Maddox Foundation in Hobbs, agreed. He remembers receiving a call from a foundation board member, telling him about seeing an individual, walking along the Seminole Highway, pushing a grocery cart.

His first call was to Smith, Reed said. Within just a couple of hours, Smith called Reed back, informing him she’d found the person, got them in her van and back to a Hobbs clinic for treatment of heat exhaustion, then into a hotel so they could spend a couple days recovering from their ordeal.

“That’s Lisa to a tee,” Reed said. “She didn’t care what was going on, what your background was. If she could help you, she would help you.”

Offering assistance to the homeless and other, less-fortunate individuals across the community was both Smith’s mission and passion, those who knew her said. While in Hobbs between Nov. 1, 2017, until she departed July 31, 2020, she was instrumental in launching the project for the new hygiene station which will be opening soon at the former Salvation Army Family Store on North Main Street.

She also promoted the idea of a “Center of Hope” concept, teaming up the Salvation Army and other agencies, including Isaiah’s Soup Kitchen in Hobbs. The idea was to provide a space where the area’s homeless could clean up, then receive a hot meal at Isaiah’s Kitchen, Castillo told the New-Sun recently.

“It was in her heart to start that,” said Renea Madron, Isaiah’s Kitchen founder. “She really worked hard to get things done she thought our community really needed.”

Reed said another of Smith’s strong suits was getting things organized while bringing diverse community organizations together to partner on projects.

“She worked on a lot of different things,” he said. “A big part of her work was connecting with the community. That didn’t just mean the soup kitchen or United Way. That also meant Rotary Club, the city — all the stake holders, to build as many connections as she could.”

Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb said “committed” was one of the best ways to describe Smith. He’d worked with her several times on different projects, including the idea of establishing a shelter for the homeless in the community.

“She was committed to those in our community who were less fortunate,” Cobb told the News-Sun on Thursday. “Her passion and commitment was for folks in the community who, for whatever reason, needed assistance. She was always looking for ways to be part of that solution.”

One of Smith’s friends, Susan Spousta who, along with her husband Les, preceded Smith leading the Hobbs Salvation Army, said Smith passed suddenly from a heart attack. Smith was working to find housing for homeless veterans through the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless in Denver at the time of her passing.

“We recommended her to come to Hobbs,” Susan Spousta said. “She was forthright; she didn’t mince words.

“But she wasn’t selfish, by no means,” Spousta said. “She was always there doing something.”

Madron from Isaiah’s Kitchen said her strong est memory of Smith was her enthusiasm and her “get-it-done attitude. And her love of the Lord. She really was an amazing preacher. She believed her and God could do anything.”

Mayor Cobb agreed: “Some of the things she did (in Hobbs) improved a lot of people’s lives. She left the community better than she found it.”

A service was planned for 1 p.m. Monday at the Healing Water Family Center in Wheat Ridge. The service was streamed live on Smith’s Facebook page, @BuckySmith, according to an individual who answered the phone at the church Thursday.

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