For Lucile Smiley, service is a way of life.
The pastor of Trinity Missionary Baptist Temple in Hinesville recently received a recognition from Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp for being an “Outstanding Georgia Citizen.”
Though Smiley said she was “completely surprised” when the award came to her in the mail, those who know her can attest to her dedication to serving others.
“(The ‘Outstanding Georgia Citizen’ award) is one of the highest awards given by the state of Georgia,” Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, said. “We give it to exemplary citizens for exemplary work, when they’ve been outstanding citizens and shown great community leadership.”
Williams said that he recommended Smiley for the award based on her “outstanding job in this community.”
Smiley has been Trinity Missionary’s head pastor since her husband, the late Rev. Dr. Jimmie Smiley, died last May. However, she had been performing the duties of that position since 2009, when her husband fell ill and no longer was able to work.
Before taking over as full-time pastor, Smiley spent 30 years in the health-care profession as a registered nurse. Throughout her medical career, she worked at St. Joseph’s hospital in Savannah, as well as nursing homes in Bryan and Long counties.
Smiley remembers her nursing days fondly and said she “loved working in the nursing home.” She worked at Coastal Manor in Ludowici, first in the infection-control department, then as director of activities.
Smiley also served as a teacher at Trinity Christian Academy, the elementary school operated by Trinity Missionary. She taught first and second grades full-time while also working full-time as a nurse.
Through it all, though, her priority was always supporting her husband and the mission of Trinity Missionary, which the Smileys founded 24 years ago this December. Though she was ordained in 2005, she was licensed well before that, and said she and her husband always were partners in ministry.
Not one to seek the spotlight, Smiley said she was content with her role “in the background,” supporting her husband and fulfilling her obligations as a wife, mother, nurse, teacher and minister. However, she acknowledges that assuming all her husband’s responsibilities was no small task, and said she is grateful for the recognition.
“Stay in your lane and do what you’re supposed to do, because when it’s time for God to elevate you, he will do it,” she said.
“Some people do big work and don’t get a lot of headlines for the work they do,” Williams added. “I’m just proud that my recommendation was accepted and that she was able to get this award.”