Hometown Heroes: Don Smith

By Joan Frances –

Don Smith.

Compassionate, devoted and generous are three words that describe our Hometown Hero who has contributed valuable time to making his community a better place to live. Don Smith had a vision. He wanted to bring the diversified people of Missouri City together, to honor freedom and to have fun. Through his endeavors, he incorporated history and a highly anticipated celebration of life for the residents of Fort Bend County.

Smith is a native Houstonian, who grew up in the Fifth Ward. He went to Phillis Wheatley High School, Texas Southern University and University of Houston Bauer School of Business. He moved to Missouri City in 1978 and worked at W-K-M Valve Company in Missouri City before hiring on at Boeing Aircraft as a Technical Writer for the Lunar Module Project. In 2002, after retiring from Pitney Bowes as a Marketing Director, he ran for City Council in Missouri City.

“During my City Council tenure, I am most proud of initiating the first Black History Month Celebration, drum majoring the Veterans Memorial and co-initiator of the Houston Community College (HCC) Campus moving to Missouri City.”

In 2002, Smith established the Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (MCJCF) mainly because there were no organizations representing a demographic that constituted over 20% of the total population. The Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration Foundation was founded to highlight and honor the significance of the Emancipation Proclamation as it related to the State of Texas and the long-awaited pledge of freedom it carried for the slave population confined within the territory. This organization developed programs designed to identify, nurture and showcase talented, deserving students/young adults within the community. It also brings together individuals from all social demographics to share and understand the many benefits of good family living.

“We honor this occasion by creating and supporting events that will positively teach, recognize and demonstrate the importance of this hallowed day in American History,” said Smith. “The Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration offers five days of family-oriented fun-filled events and activities. There is also a music festival featuring Hip-Hop, R&B, Jazz, Blues, Country, Zydeco and renowned musical performers.”

During this time, the MCJCF has awarded close to $200,000 to deserving Fort Bend County students. The MCJCF has grown to become one of the larges celebrations of its kind in America.  This year’s celebration starts June 12th, 2020.

Don Smith and Ray Aguilar.

Don Smith and Ray Aguilar.

In addition to his commitment to MCJCF, a considerable amount of Smith’s time is spent directing another non-profit organization: the Se7en Seventy-Four Charitable Organization. This organization was established while Smith was a City Councilman to promote Missouri City’s Bicycle Pedestrian and Mobility Initiative. Their mission is to enhance the community by promoting safe, convenient and enjoyable bicycling. Smith explained, “As an avid bicycle rider, I believe progressive cities should have alternate means of transportation and promote healthy living. The 774 Charitable Organization has one project, the Brazos River Bicycle Rally (BRBR), which is held on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter, annually. The next event is April 11th (visit BRBR.Rocks).”

BRBR is entering its fifth year, attracting riders from all over Texas, Louisiana and even Canada. “We are expecting over 500 riders this year thanks to the support of sponsors like Johnson Development-Sienna, Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land, H-E-B, Prime Way Federal Credit Union and Niagara Bottling. I must mention, our success could not have happened without the support and effort of so many people. Thank you.”

Thank you, Don Smith, for all you do for your community. Your brilliant contributions to the citizens of Fort Bend County will live on forever. For more details on this celebration of life, please visit www.MissouriCityJuneteenthCelebration.com.

Classic Chevy Sugar Land
13115 Southwest Freeway, Sugar Land, TX 77478
(281) 491-9000