Courthouse Community Coffee and Retirement Party draws in a big crowd

Numerous members of the community turned out this morning to attend this week’s Community Coffee hosted by the Hempstead County Courthouse. The courthouse demonstrated that holiday spirit with Christmas decor and table settings, plus a considerable spread filled with delightful treats for guests.

Judge Jerry Crane shared with SWARK.Today why the courthouse staff was thrilled to be hosting this event. “We’ve always been involved in the Coffees, but this year brings a lot of excitement for us since we are in the new courthouse,” Crane said. “We get to invite everyone in to come in and see what we have, tour the facility, and visit with the staff. Kim has done a very good job putting it together.”

Assessor Kim Smith was tasked with facilitating the Coffee this year and she seconded Judge Crane’s statement. “The courthouse belongs to the citizens so we’re always glad to take any opportunity to invite them in,” Smith said. While everyone on the courthouse pitches in to bring food and prepare for the event, each year the staff takes turns regarding who is in charge of picking the theme, decorating the facility, and hosting the Coffee. This year, the team in the assessor’s office had their turn, and how fitting it was since the occasion today also celebrated the retirement of Assessor Kim Smith, as well as the Deputy Assessor, Judy Gray.

Judge Crane and others shared a few words about Gray and Smith, expressing appreciation for their years of service, and both ladies were presented gifts from courthouse staff members. Smith said of Gray, “Everyone loves her and people are going to be sad when they call up here now and they don’t get Judy. I appreciate her loyalty and dedication; she has really been an asset to my office.”

Representative Danny Watson said he and Smith were lifelong friends and he had this to say: “I’ve known Kim longer than anybody here; we were crib-mates at Parkview Baptist Church in Alexandria, Louisiana. Who would have ever thought that we would both end up here. It just goes to show you never know what direction life will take you. I’m tickled for Kim and so very proud for her.”

In a separate interview with SWARK.Today, Smith said she was grateful for her years working at the courthouse, and she looking forward to this next chapter in her life. “I’m excited that I was able to work here all these years, and it was a wonderful experience serving the county and its people,” she said. When asked what she was most looking forward to in retirement, she said with a laugh, “Not working. I’ve never not worked, so I’m ready for that.”

Next week’s Community Coffee will be hosted by Farmer’s Bank & Trust from 9:30am to 11am at the main FB&T branch.

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