2002 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Harden, White (29th), Little, King, Burton, Cuevas, Posey, Johnson (19th), Gollott, Hewes, Dearing, Hyde-Smith, Carmichael, Dawkins, Harvey, Frazier, Mettetal, Farris, Kirby, Williamson, Nunnelee, Smith

Senate Concurrent Resolution 587

(As Adopted by Senate and House)


     WHEREAS, longtime Executive Director of the Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities Mark F. Smith passed away on Monday, February 25, 2002; and

     WHEREAS, Mr. Smith was the Executive Director of the Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities since 1992.  Under his leadership, disability groups throughout Mississippi were organized to push for improvements to service systems and to provide additional opportunities in health care, home- and community-based services, housing, education, transportation and employment; and

     WHEREAS, prior to his work with the Coalition, Mr. Smith was employed by the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services as Director of the Office of Special Services for Individuals with Disabilities, Program Director of Special Projects, Program Coordinator of Grants and Program Development, Facility Manager of Allied Enterprises of Rankin County, and Vocational Evaluator for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.  He was a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and received a Master's Degree from Mississippi State University; and

     WHEREAS, Mark Smith was a gifted grants writer and was responsible for bringing millions of dollars into Mississippi for the establishment and expansion of programs of service for people with disabilities.  He was instrumental in establishing a system of independent living centers, Living Independence For Everyone (LIFE) of Mississippi, and served as the Project Director of this program for many years; and

     WHEREAS, he developed and administered many innovative programs employing and assisting people with disabilities including AmeriCorps MPOWERS (Mississippians Promoting Opportunities for Work, Equality, and Renewal) with the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Services; Healthy Futures; Adolescent Transition in Mississippi; and Mississippi ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Network affiliated with the Southeast Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center; and

     WHEREAS, Mr. Smith was particularly proud of his work with youth with disabilities as a sponsor and coach for the Challenger League.  In recent years, under his leadership, the Coalition hosted the Spirit of the ADA Torch Relay providing over 140 individuals with disabilities the opportunity to "carry the torch" for employment; conducted a series of Job Fairs for people with disabilities; and hosted two highly successful Youth Leadership Conferences for adolescents with disabilities and their families; and

     WHEREAS, he was the National Truth Team Coordinator for Justice For All, a national advocacy organization.  During the 11th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 2001, Mr. Smith was awarded the national "Justice For All Disability Rights Award."  He was one of the only grassroots leaders being recognized along with other honorees, former Senator Bob Dole, Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Ted Kennedy; and

     WHEREAS, Mr. Smith served on a number of national and state boards for disability organizations.  He was a tireless worker and received many other honors and awards; and

     WHEREAS, Mr. Smith's legacy will be the thousands of people whose lives he touched.  He worked unceasingly to help others.  He saw the best in everyone.  His diligence and devotion were unparalleled.  Because of his vision and his efforts, he left the world a better place; and

     WHEREAS, Mr. Smith is survived by his wife, Denise Bowman Smith of Jackson; daughter, Erin McPeak of Laurel; grand-daughter, Lydia McPeak; two brothers, Mathew Smith of Walnut Creek, California, and Rev. Jerry Smith of New Orleans, Louisiana; and nephews and nieces; and

     WHEREAS, it is with sadness that we note the passing of this dedicated public servant and advocate, whose contributions to his community and state will serve as a model for us all:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend the life and career of Mark F. Smith, longtime Executive Director of the Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities, and do hereby express the sympathy of the Legislature on his passing.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to the surviving family of Mark Smith, be forwarded to the Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities and be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.