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Archive for March, 2018

Frank

Frank, “Go rest high on that mountain, your work on earth is done.” Vince Gill didn’t know my friend, Frank Smith, when he wrote that song, but if there ever was a song written for someone that song was written for Frank.
I first met Frank, when we were getting ready to build the work camp at Hamilton Correctional Institution. He was in that first graduating class of officers for that work camp. The warden, Rob Cason, told me to seek out any officers in that class that had construction experience to assist in the construction of the camp. Frank was one of those that raised his hand. That begin nearly three decades of friendship between us. Frank worked as both a security officer, rising to the rank of sergeant and every position for maintenance and construction for Region Two for the Florida Department of Corrections. A better man never served as Maintenance & Construction Officer as Frank. His skills and ability in those trades were at the top that field. Even though we competed for the same positions during our time with DOC, we were as close as brothers. He served under me twice and I under him twice. Never once did we have a disagreement. Never!
I was there the day he was demoted back down to officer for purely political reasons, which brought shame on the Region, and I was there the day the new Regional Director, Mark Redd, brought him back to build Suwannee Correctional Institution. No one was as angry as me for what they did to him, but Frank held to a higher standard than I did. He never held a grudge. I will never forget the lesson from that teachable moment. That servant leadership attitude put him right back on top again.
Vince wrote, “I know your life on earth was troubled and only you could know the pain.” There again, this was Frank, losing Claire, his wife, to cancer while building Suwannee was as hard as it gets.  He could never overcome that loss.  I watch his health deteriorate over the years to the point that retirement was the only option for him. Only those of us close to him knew of his struggles. Because of that we know he is at peace now.
“Go rest high on that mountain Son, your work on earth is done. Go to heaven a-shoutin’ Love for the Father and the Son. Good bye my friend, go with God Speed.

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