David Smith says he was floored when Mayor Carson Ross called to tell he planned to name Smith this year’s Truman Heartland Community Foundation citizen of the year for Blue Springs.

“There’s a lot of people who do a lot of stuff. It’s humbling,” he said.

But the mayor points out that Smith grew up in Blue Springs, that he’s grown a local business – Smith has owned Tandem Paving for about eight years – and that he gives back to the community, often in little-noticed ways.

“It’s an honor for what he’s done but also a tribute to his roots,” Ross said.

Smith and the citizens of the year from six other Eastern Jackson County cities are among those being honored at the Truman Heartland gala Saturday evening at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center.

The mayor cited Smith for sponsoring the Music in the Park summer concerts; putting in walking paths at three local elementary schools; contributions to the Blue Springs Education Foundation; and sponsoring the Blue Springs School District’s W.E.E. bus, a rolling computer lab to help students. That bus helps out students who don’t have ready access to a computer, a must for academic success. Smith said that’s important.

“We need everyone pulling the same direction” as a community, he says.

That connection to the schools is intentional. Smith notes that the Blue Springs School District consistently is ranked high, and he tells stories of teachers there who shaped him.

Specially, he said his parents Dave and Joy, his teachers and his four years in the Marine Corps each had a profound influence.

“I was just all clay that was molded into the person I am,” he said.

He added, “The guys that I served with are some of my best friends. … The Marine Corps was life-changing.”

Mayor Ross, also a veteran, also pointed out that Smith donated to the Veterans Way Memorial, dedicated three years ago in Pink Hill Park, and his company was the general contractor.

“It was great,” Smith said. “The vision was just fantastic.”

Smith said people such as his dad, who was president of the Rotary Club, set an example of community service, and he said people should be encouraged to give back as they can.

“He’s just been a great community partner in Blue Springs,” Ross said.