Mr. Smith was an individual who was a great leader across the state of Tennessee, the SE Region and in the entire Boys & Girls Clubs movement. Bernal Smith was a Christian man, who led by example and dedicated himself to developing productive citizens of tomorrow through the work of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis. Bernal Smith was truly a man of great personal honor and one whose passion and dedication to children lay at the foundation of everything he accomplished in his adult life.
Bernal Smith was presented with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Professional Service Award, BGCA’s highest award that can be presented to a Club professional. Bernal began his association with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis in 1967, as a Program Director at the Dixie Homes Boys & Girls Club and he also worked, as a Club Director, at the John Dustin Buckman Boys & Girls Club, here in Memphis. Bernal worked, as a Club Director, until 1992. In 1992, he accepted the role as Director of Operations with the organization and also served as the acting President. Bernal now serves as the Senior Vice President, of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis.
Not only has Bernal served this organization with great distinction, he also served in leadership capacities across the region and country. He chaired the Mid-South chapter of TPA; served as chair of the Southeast Administrative Conference, served as a career coach through Boys & Girls Clubs of America Career Assistance Network, he was a member of the Southeast Diversity committee and served on the Training and Professional Development committee. He also served as a Board Member of the National Board of the Professional Association. Bernal had been a great advocate and mentor for many of his fellow professionals. Bernal was married to his lovely wife, Emerle, for over 45 years. He was the proud father of one son, two daughters and five grandchildren.
Bernal was recognized for his service with many local, state and national awards, a few of these include: The Ira Samelson Jr. Award for outstanding service to his local Club; the prestigious Herman S. Prescott award in 2004 and The Professional Association’s Professional of the Year award. He has also been inducted into Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Masters and Mentors program, where he joins only 47 others, who are all deemed as legacy leaders. Bernal passed away January 21, 2011, just a couple of weeks before his scheduled retirement.