Although Ed Smith’s own attempt at playing a musical instrument may have been short-lived, that experience only heightened his respect of those who do have that talent.
That’s one of the reasons Smith has been a particularly big fan of Carroll’s Band Day Parade ever since he and his family moved to town more than 31 years ago when he joined St. Anthony Regional Hospital and Nursing Home’s administrators team.
Smith was named St. Anthony’s president and CEO seven years ago and since coming here has been a part of a number of remarkable building projects and expansion of services and staff at St. Anthony.
In addition, Smith served as Carroll’s mayor from 2000 through 2006, when the city embarked on major improvement projects.
In recognition of his service to the community, the Carroll Chamber of Commerce early this year honored Smith as its Citizen of the Year.
As Citizen of the Year, Smith will be enjoying another reward on Saturday, when he will serve as parade marshal for the 62nd annual Band Day Parade.
“I’m really humbled and honored to be selected as the parade marshal and proud to be associated with such a wonderful event,” Smith said in an interview with the Times Herald.
For many years, the Band Day tradition for Smith, his wife, Vicki, and their children was to find a curbside seat for the parade, enjoy Pokey’s caramel apples and take in the sounds and pageantry of the bands and dozens of other entries.
“(Band Day) is really a beautiful event for the fall here in Carroll,” Smith said.
Smith said the teamwork among the Chamber, Carroll Community School District and Kuemper Catholic School System has made Band Day a premier event for the community year after year.
“These things don’t happen by accident. The people who are involved in the organization work really hard,” Smith said, adding, “You can’t say enough about the host schools and the Chamber. To have an event going as strong as this is a real testament to all three of those.”
The Band Day crowd will cheer the event’s 13 high school and middle school bands and the hundreds of musicians altogether in those groups.
The parade will kick off at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Ninth and Adams streets and travel south to Seventh Street, east to Clark Street, north to Ninth Street, and east through Graham Park, where the judging stand will be located, before finishing at Grant Road. Bands in the parade are Kuemper Catholic Middle School, Adair-Casey/Guthrie Center Middle School, Boone Middle School, Perry Middle School, Storm Lake Middle School, Carroll High School, Boone High School, Roland-Story High School, Kuemper Catholic High School, Ar-We-Va High School, Storm Lake High School, Glidden-Ralston High School and Adair-Casey/Guthrie Center High School. There will be more than 65 entries altogether. Following the parade, Carroll High School and Kuemper Catholic High School, along with Boone High School, will perform their football-halftime shows. The Adair-Casey/Guthrie-Center drum line also will present on the field. Once the presentations are completed, awards will be presented.
“For over 60 years, Carroll has been able to provide a venue for marching bands to show off for admiring fans,” Smith said.
Indeed, Smith himself is one of those admirers.
He played tenor saxophone for a while when he was in middle school but eventually set the instrument aside in favor of other activities, although he said, “I still think the saxophone is a pretty cool instrument.”
“I enjoy music, but I never had any talent to produce music,” he added. “With that being said, I’ve always enjoyed the music produced by marching bands, and I’ve always been impressed with their ability to play and be in such precision as they march.”
As a high school and college football fan, Smith enjoys not only the games but also the bands’ halftime shows and appreciates the band members for “the incredible amount of work that they do to prepare for their performances.”
Carroll will be rolling out the red carpet on Saturday, welcoming band members, their families members and friends, and many other Band Day fans.
“There’s always a surge of activity in our retail establishments and restaurants,” Smith said. “We appreciate the exposure for Carroll businesses with this event. We must really roll out the hospitality carpet and give these individuals who are coming to Carroll a good time. We have to be proud of ourselves, and we’re greatly appreciative of the people who participate in Band Day Parade.”
Smith is particularly proud of St. Anthony’s own entry in the parade, spotlighting a landmark project currently underway on the St. Anthony campus.
St. Anthony officials this spring broke ground for construction of a cancer care center, which is expected to be completed in December 2020. At the groundbreaking, St. Anthony Board of Directors Chairman Tom Gronstal revealed features of the center, including upgraded, next-level treatment technology, expanded space with natural lighting for improved patient experience and convenience, and improved coordination of care. The 21,000-square-foot, $16.5 million center will have 18 infusion areas and a new state-of-the-art linear accelerator.
The St. Anthony parade entry will be a float pulled by a 1949 Farmall H tractor that Tammy Auen of Lake View purchased in 2011. Her husband, Mark, and a friend painted it “Elvis Presley Cadillac pink.” It is decked out with Breast Cancer Awareness flags and some extra touches. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Tammy participates in tractor rides in support of her aunt, co-workers, friends and neighbors. Oncology nurses and surviving patients will participate on the float.
The cancer center is the latest in many dramatic improvements Smith has seen at St. Anthony. He served as vice president and chief financial officer under Robert Blincow and then Gary Riedmann before he became president and CEO seven years ago.
“We have been at the forefront of some very significant services to the area that we’re very proud to offer,” Smith said.
He cited construction of a surgery center, acquisition of a surgical robot, the shift to private rooms in the nursing home and hospital medical/surgical floor, and more.
“You look at our facilities, and we’ve been able to acquire and improve a lot of technology,” Smith said. “We’ve been able to attract outstanding medical staff. In this day and age of evolving health-care environment where so many communities are having difficulty with being able to provide OB services, it’s great to see St. Anthony and our medical staff being able to provide those services to the broader region. That provides a certain economic vitality for these other communities. …
“We also have specialty services such as cardiology, orthopedics, cancer care, all of our surgical services that are pretty unique to St. Anthony and Carroll that allow our neighbors to be able to come to Carroll instead of having to go to Omaha or Des Moines for those services. So that’s really nice to be able to have those services close to home.”
His childhood home is where Smith first saw the value of a health-care profession. Smith, 61, is the oldest of Ed Sr. and Virginia Smith’s family of five boys. His dad retired from the Air Force as a master sergeant, and his mom was a critical-care nurse, once working at the former Creighton St. Joseph Hospital in Omaha. The couple now reside in Bellevue, Nebraska.
“With my mother being a nurse and being around health care, you see the good that caregivers do,” Smith said. “Hospitals really require a team effort, and I had a skill set — while not a clinician, (I) would be able to provide resources to help clinicians be able to take care of patients. So, really, I was attracted to the ability to make a difference in people’s lives when they need it the most. That’s been a greatly satisfying career, and it’s been rewarding to do it in a community like Carroll, because you can see the difference being made on a daily basis.”
Before coming to Carroll, Smith was a budget and physical analyst at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, a Medicare auditor with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota and a hospital chief financial officer at International Falls, Minnesota.
Smith has had major impact in Carroll not only through his career, but also his three terms as mayor from 2000 through 2006.
“I think it was an exciting period for the community,” Smith said. “We were able to create a corridor of commerce, which was a focus really on Carroll’s rich tradition of being a retail center for the region, and make some improvements through public-private collaborations. We saw investments in private property and then also public investment in landscaping and streetscaping that was significant as well.
“In addition, we addressed public-safety issues of having the Fire Department have a new station, which allowed the Police Department to make some expansions as well.”
The Fire Department moved out of the Farner Government Building and into its current station on Bella Vista Drive in 2006.
Smith and his wife, Vicki, who have been married 34 years, have three sons and a daughter, all Carroll High graduates: Jacob (2004 grad) is an accountant in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Noah (2006), a mortgage banker, and his wife, Kathy, live in West Des Moines; Hannah (2009), a dental hygienist, lives with her husband, Evan Olson, and newborn son, Max, in Bend, Oregon; and Adam (2011), is an accountant in Bend.
The Smiths are members of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Carroll and volunteer their help with the church’s monthly free community dinner.