City Pays Tribute to the Late Don Cantrell

The City of Smithville will honor Don Cantrell, a former police officer and city firefighter who recently passed away.
The Smithville Aldermen voted 5 to 0 Monday night to retire Cantrell’s badge number 409 and to rename East Walnut Street by city hall the Don Cantrell Avenue, provided there are no legal or other reasons why the street could not be renamed.
The action was taken at the request of Kenny Rhody, who was a friend and former co-worker with Cantrell in the police department.
In addressing the Mayor and Aldermen, Rhody made the following remarks,
“As I walk around this town, I am reminded of the services some people have contributed to our community in order that the citizens here enjoy all that we have. Some of the people which have helped this town to become what it is today include Mr. Shannon Taylor, Mr. Billy J. Lefever, Mr. Joe Evins, Mr. Hobson Reynolds, and Mr. Cecil Burger.”
“Recently we have lost another person who has made a difference in our town. That was Mr. Don Cantrell. Don was a devoted employee of 35 years as a Smithville Police Officer. He was also a firemen of 15 plus years. He was a husband, a father, and a friend.”
“As a former police officer, I had the pleasure of working with Don for four years. Many times I witnessed Don go above and beyond the call of duty to assist people when they needed it most.”
” I would like for us to do something to honor this man, who gave so much of himself to this community. I’m asking that the council to consider retiring badge #409 that Don wore for some 35 years and possibly renaming East Walnut Street right here beside the police department the Don Cantrell Avenue”.
“In West Tennessee on a tomb rock for Sheriff Buford Pusser, it reads three words, “He Walked Tall”. For those of us who knew Don, although he wasn’t six foot, six, Don walked just as tall. He served our community. He worked with at least eight mayors and at least one hundred council members that I know of and he managed to get along with all of them. Don taught us officers many things. How to help people when they really needed it. How to do your job properly. And I’d just like for us to honor him in some way or another. We’ll always remember Don Cantrell.”
In other business, Travis Stephens was hired as a certified water plant operator to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of another water plant employee. Stephens was put to work on October 30th at $11.75 per hour. His pay will increase to $12.42 per hour after his 60 day probation period. The aldermen voted 5 to 0 to hire him. The city currently has two certified water plant operators and a trainee working toward his certification.
Secretary Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson gave a brief report on two grants that have been approved for the city airport. “The TDOT Aeronautics Division has approved two more grants for the city airport, one for $166, 667 of which 90% comes from federal funds with a 10% city match. That is for a new fueling system. Ours out there is not in bad shape but it’s aging and while the state is dishing out money I’m not going to turn it down. I think it’s a good idea to go ahead. If we can get a new fuel system for $16,000 or less I think we should jump on it. We’ve sold quite a bit of fuel out there this year. It’s been pretty busy. There’s a lot of people flying. Not so much in the winter, but they have been during the spring and summer. Hopefully that will bring in more fuel sales.
“We also put in for a security grant at the airport. Our airport manager, Mr. Wes Nokes put in for that and it came back as a $21,590 grant with the city matching 10% of that which will be roughly $2,200. This will pay for any kind of video surveillance we need out there, updating any of our fence, or just anything to help keep the area more secure.”
Mayor Taft Hendrixson added that “It seems that the aeronautics grants are more plentiful than anything else and we’ll try to get our share. (With these latest grants) That’s going to be about a million dollars worth of aeronautics grants in the last year and a half.”
Mayor Hendrixson also reported on the city’s insurance audit. “We got our insurance audit. We always get this in December and we have to pay the premium by the middle of February. There is some good news. This is our total package of insurance except for one thing for the airport that TML doesn’t do. But it is down by approximately 9% from last year, down about $24,500. I think that’s down because the accidents have been down and days off from work from accidents are down. I really didn’t expect that, but it’s good news.”
The mayor also addressed the issue of the lake elevation and the need for a portable pump to support the water intake at Sligo. “This morning (Monday) Center Hill Lake was at 628.3 MSL (Mean Sea Level). That is good news. They are generating a lot down there (dam) and probably after tonight and tomorrow, according to the weather forecast, it (lake level) will be up again. So hopefully we won’t need the portable pump system. However in this CDBG grant that we’re asking for, we’re going to include that (portable pump) in this grant (application).”

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