Larry Curran met Terry Smith in the swimming pool. A college swimmer who took a 15-year hiatus from swimming was struggling with cramps when Smith’s helping hand pulled him out of the water. Smith then told him that pinching his lips together would help with the cramps.
The next time Curran entered the pool the cramps got to him again, and he remembered Smith’s lesson. It was all the same, he said, "Except this time I had black and blue lips."
On Friday, Aug. 10, Reston Community Center dedicated its Aquatics Center in Smith’s name. "This could not be a better name or dedication for this facility," said Curran, who joined Smith’s master swim team in 1982. More than 100 people attended the ceremony. Smith did not attend because of illness, but family members showed in numbers to receive the praise and acknowledgment of his community service.
"You being here today matters very much," said Reid Smith, Terry Smith’s son. "My dad loves Reston," said Reid Smith. "He knows how important this community center is to Reston."
Terry Smith’s daughter, Melanie McCarley, came from West Virginia for the dedication. She said her father told her, "This is the nicest thing anyone has done for me." McCarley said Reston Community Center means a lot to her father and that he would have been very pleased to see the unveiling of the Aquatics Center in his name and the people who came out for it. "He is a believer in the community," said McCarley of her father.
THOSE WHO SPOKE at the dedication told stories of Terry Smith’s almost 20 years on the RCC Board of Governors. They also told stories of his affection for swimming and working with children. Even though he was on the RCC Board, Smith was also a swimming instructor and a lifeguard in the building. Abbie Edwards, one of the directors of the Reston Triathlon, said Terry Smith was a fierce competitor in the triathlon. "We want Terry to be remembered as that triathlete who was going on and on and on," she said.
"I admire him as a leader, as a builder of the community," said Bill Bouie, RCC Board chair. "Terry always took the chance to tell me, ‘Yeah, we got this center, but we need more,’" said Bouie. He added, "Terry Smith is a well-loved man for all the right reasons."
RCC executive director Bonnie Freeman said she was excited to honor Smith’s legacy. "He helped build RCC to a wonderful organization that it is today," said Freeman.
Former member of the Board of Governors Ruth Overton fought back the tears as she recalled her 20 years of knowing Terry Smith. "Terry and I kind of lived here for the last 20 years," said Overton. Roger Lowen, a current board member, said it was Terry Smith who convinced him to join the Board of Governors. "Terry is a really good mentor," said Lowen.
The Young Actors Theater, an RCC program, performance followed the speakers with about 30 children singing the song titled "Terry Smith" to the tune of "Rubber Duckie." Family members then joined Bouie and Freeman in unveiling the Aquatics Center’s new name, the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center.