Dale Keasling presents the South Knoxville Hometown Hero award to Carol Smith for her dedication to helping the disabled. (The Herald/Joe King)

Hometown Hero, an awards program created and operated by Home Federal Bank, honored their 2012 South Knoxville winner on April 30.

At the ceremony, which was held at Home Federal’s South Knoxville branch, Carol Smith was named the 2012 Hometown Hero for the South Knoxville area.

“The purpose of the program is to recognize ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” said Home Federal President Dale Keasling.

Smith, who has cerebral palsy, has served on state and local committees that protect the rights of the disabled. She has also addressed a U.S. Senate Subcommittee on the value of technology. In 2008, Smith worked on a bill which addressed the provisions of community services for intervals with development disabilities.

As part of being chosen as a Hometown Hero, Smith designated the $2,500 of prize money award to her from Home Federal to the charity of her choice. Smith’s selection was East Tennessee Technology Access Center.

“We are a non-profit organization that matches the needs of the disabled to technology that can benefit them in writing, reading, and other forms of communication,” said ETTAS Executive Director Lois Symington. “Carol has volunteered with us for years and she wants to use this money to help people.”

Lois Symington, Debra Smith, Carol Smith, and Dale Keasling at the Hometown Hero ceremony this week. (The Herald/Joe King)

The reason Smith chose ETTAS as the recipient of the prize is because the organization has helped her to gain independence through technology.

One of the pieces of technology that Symington said may be used with this prize money is an iGaze. An iGaze is a device that translates the eye movements that a user directs on a screen into a computerized form of audio speech.

Smith said she was overwhelmed with joy to accept the award and become one of the regional finalists.

Debra Smith, the Executive Vice President for Home Federal Bank, also attended the ceremony and said she was pleased her organization could honor Smith in this way.

The seven other regional finalists who were honored as Hometown Heroes were Laura Beth Barry of Blount County—benefiting Haven House, Dr. William “Bill” Broome III of downtown Knoxville – benefiting Lost Sheep Ministry,  Andrew Bingham of North Knox County – benefiting the Cerebral Palsy Center, Dr. Gene Caldwell of Anderson County— benefiting Emory Valley Center, Dr. Richard Dew of Sevier County— benefiting Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic, Alicia Moore of East Knox County— benefiting UUNIK Academy, and Joan Regester of West Knox County— benefiting Mobile Meals.

The overall winner was Dr. Bill Broome, who has not yet designated the additional $2,500 in prize money as of press time.

“There are so many great people who selflessly do an incredible amount of good for our community and never get the credit they deserve,” Keasling said. “We are happy to honor these Hometown Heroes and pleased to support these programs that do such great things for our neighbors throughout the year.”

2012 was the second year Home Federal Bank has presented Hometown Hero awards and plans to continue the tradition next year.

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