FARMINGTON — Matt Smith wanted to get out of town for a while after high school. Even though he knew since the age of 10 that he wanted to work in the logging industry, he couldn’t wait to get away.  

Matt joined the Navy in 1988 and served during the 1st Gulf War. He spent 2.5 years stationed in Philadelphia where he was part of the Ships Life Extension Program. He was a machinist mate and helped rebuild the USS Kittyhawk.

The ship had 37 holes in the bottom of the carrier when it arrived. Matt helped rebuild it to make it seaworthy again and was onboard when the USS Kittyhawk sailed back to its home port in San Diego.

While Matt did not face combat duty, “The USS Kittyhawk spent three tours in the Gulf and was involved in some pretty heavy stuff,” he said. Smith has recently begun reconnecting with his crew mates.

While in Philadelphia, Matt got volunteered to help with the Special Olympics Program. That experience is “Part of what got me into community service,” he said.

When his four year tour of duty was up, Smith turned down shore duty in Pearl Harbor. He and his wife, Wendi, had a six month old son and “Maine was calling,” Smith said. He went right into logging with his father, Lloyd Smith, and is still doing so today.

Matt and Wendi met a few days after her family moved to the Farmington area during April vacation. They had their first date on May 13th, 28 years ago, and got married in October of her senior year of high school.

Matt coached baseball for 16 years and football for five years. He got into coaching to spend time with his son, Tim, who was good at baseball. At the time, he didn’t think he was making a difference for others on his teams. He is beginning to change his opinion, though, due to the many times he is stopped by former players who want to speak with him. One even invited Matt to attend his graduation.

Matt served on the Farmington budget committee for four years, was an alternative for the planning board for two years, and spent a couple of years on the recreation committee. He serves on the transportation advisory committee and the conservation commission and was elected to the board of selectmen in March.

Until recently, Matt was chairman of the state’s Certified Logging Professional (CLP) Program. He also served as a judge for the logging meet held at Foster Technology Center two years ago.

Matt has held licenses to cut wood in every New England state. He and his father have twice been recognized as Franklin County’s Conservation Loggers of the Year by the county’s Soil & Water Conservation District.

Matt joined Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post #28 a year and a half ago. He is a member of the color guard and will become the finance officer when officers are installed next month.

Matt said, “I like being out in the public.” He is especially proud to be passing on the importance of community service to his son, Tim. Tim graduated from college with a degree in social work and a minor in sociology. 

Matt knew that he wasn’t college material and that he would have been home in a year if he had tried that path. “The service is a great place to grow up,” he said.

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