Nellie Smith is a treasured member of the Junction City community. Monday she turns 100 years old.
On Sunday Nellie was honored during a birthday reception at the First Christian Church, with many community members in attendance.
Nellie called the surprise birthday reception mind boggling. "It really is. It's mind boggling . The whole darn county's here! I don't know how they did it, but they did it.
Nellie has lived in Geary County her entire life. "I was born in a little log cabin out on Clarks Creek by the Lutheran Church, that little Lutheran Church." Today with some help, she resides in her home in Junction City. On turning 100 she said, "I got to be 100. I love it!"
Smith is well known for her community support including for the 4-H program. She noted that she does not have any family so she gives what she can. "I give to different people, you bet, I love to do that."
Nellie plans to attend the Geary County Free Fair this summer. "Brother you aren't kidding I am. I'm planning on being there, I'm planning on bidding." She remembers how her involvement with 4-H began. "One year they come by and wanted help with the 4-H. And so Ray ( her late husband ) said okay we'll help you. So he looked around to see how much we could give, and so we gave them a bunch to help them out. And oh yeah, it went alright."
Nellie also enjoyed her role on the old KJCK radio show Swap Shop over the years. She was a regular caller to the program that aired on weekdays and became well known there. "I know, and I loved it. I sure did, I loved Swap Shop."
During the reception on Sunday, Geary County Commissioner Keith Ascher read a proclamation honoring Nellie. "You're generosity to this community and this county has been exceptional."
Ascher stated the proclamation recognized Nellie Smith, who is celebrating her 100th birthday on April 12, has been a longtime poll worker for elections, a 57-year member of the Extension Education Unit program and has provided many 4-H camp scholarships. "She has helped with the Geary County Free Fair open class division for several decades and has provided dozens of student scholarships. Nellie Smith has further provided generous support to many local organizations and foundations throughout her lifetime."
Ascher said the County Commission wanted to recognize and celebrate Nellie Smith's 100th birthday, "and her many years of service and her commitment to Geary County Kansas and the local community."
The reading of the proclamation drew a large round of applause by the people in attendance on Sunday.