Interview by Abernathy Cochran intern and Gainesville High School senior Donangelo Marshall
Meet Sammy Smith! Sammy is a member of the Gainesville City School Board, a Hall County native, a Gainesville High School and University of Georgia graduate. Formerly he was a Congressional aide, public relations director at Fieldale Farms and founder of Rainmaker Public Relations in 1996.
We want to thank Sammy for spending time with us recently and letting us know more about his life and love of Hall County.
Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: “I’ve always been involved with people, I’ve always been in the people business in one form or another. Twenty four years ago I’ve founded a public relations firm on my own. Public relations is a pretty big umbrella and it’s a people business. I do media work, I do promotions, special events, research and lots of writing for other people where you might see their face and their name but my words.”
Q: What are a couple of your favorite restaurants in our Hall County and what do you love there?
A: “My favorite lunch time restaurant is The Collegiate Grill; and for dinner time it would be Texas Roadhouse and I would get the Road Kill.”
Q: How long have you lived or worked in our community?
A: “I was born and raised here so all of my 67 years.”
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in our community?
A: “The most interesting person I’ve ever met is no longer living, he’s my high school English teacher named C.H. Gillan. He came to Gainesville High School from Riverside and then left Gainesville High School to go into the ministry. He is the most interesting person I have ever met and to this day and through my professional career I used things that I learned from him.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
A: “I love to travel. I’d like to go back to London which is such a vibrant city and I’m such a big theater fan.”
Q: What is your favorite movie or what is the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?
A: “My favorite movie is ‘The Shawshank Redemption,’ my second favorite I will say is ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ it was excellently made and has great life lessons. And the first movie I remember seeing in a theater would be ‘Bambi’ or ‘Lassie’ or ‘The Greatest Show on Earth,’ I remember all of those at the Royal Theater downtown when I was a kid.”
Q: What advice would you give to a crowd of people?
A: “Today? Wear a mask and distance. Post-pandemic, I’d like to ask a crowd of people ‘do they care about their country enough to be registered to vote and to vote when the time comes?’”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “I would enjoy some more travel, time to read as a form pleasure.”
Q: What is your favorite music or three bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “Alabama, The Beatles (who I did see) and Elvis (who I did see).”
Q: If you could choose anyone that is alive today and not a relative; with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? And where locally would y’all meet for this lunch?
A: “ Queen Elizabeth II and I would take her to the Collegiate Grill. I am an Elizabethan child, I was born to the year she ascended to the throne so I am a testimony to her reign for years now.”
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about our community?
A: “I love the ‘homeyness’ of Hall County and this is a good town for camaraderie.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?
A: “Retired, reading books and some travel.”
Q: Even (friends and family), what is something that most people don’t know about you?
A: “Maybe that I love to read, I enjoy people of all walks of life (rich or poor, brown, black, red) we all put on our pants one leg at a time and I’ve known that my whole life.”
Q: What is your favorite book to read?
A: “I am reading David Baldacci, he’s a prolific best seller writer so I read anything that he’s written.”
Q: What three words or phrases that comes to mind when you hear the word “HOME”?
A: “Comfort, Peace, Family.”
Q: If you have a full-time staff member that is fully paid for, who would you choose? Chef, housekeeper, driver, coach, personal fitness trainer or nanny?