The Smith County Veteran Services Office can now add counseling to the services it provides veterans. 
Smith County Veteran Services Officer Mike Roark and Assistant Veteran Services Officers Andrea Odom and Colt Webb were recently certified as Certified Peer Specialists. After undergoing a 40-hour training course and passing a required test, they are now peer-to-peer counselors. 
“This is another level of help we can give veterans in Smith County,” Roark said. 
The Smith County Veteran Services staff are all veterans and can now counsel those veterans coming into their offices for other services. 
“We do have some veterans with mental health issues who would prefer to talk to us because we’ve been there and done that,” Roark said. 
They will have to have 20 hours of continuing education every year and retest every two years in order to maintain their Certified Peer Specialist certifications. 
Smith County Elections Administrator Karen Nelson and Elections Administrative Assistant Joanna Stanfield recently graduated from the Election Center Professional Education Program. They are now designated as a certified elections/registration administrator, the highest designation available to elections and voter registration officials. 
The designation is achieved through a multi-year course study taught by the Master’s in Public Administration faculty of Auburn University. The 12 courses range from ethics to voter registration and election law, planning, communications and voter participation. The intent of the program is to professionalize the management of voter registration and elections administration in promoting and preserving public trust in the democratic process. 
“I am really proud I’ve finally achieved this goal,” Mrs. Nelson said. 
Several employees were recognized by the Commissioners Court for their years of service to the county. 
Clifford Robison has worked for the Sheriff’s Department for 10 years. 
Sheriff Larry Smith said the 79-year-old reminds him of the Energizer bunny. Robison serves papers for the department and always responds to calls for help. “We appreciate everything you do for us,” he said. 
Dianna Pappas was recognized for five years of service to the Adult Probation Department. 
Adult Probation Supervisor Michelle Barber said Ms. Pappas has “proven herself to be a great asset to her department and a dedicated employee. We look forward to many years of working with her.” 
Ms. Pappas worked as a receptionist until May, when she was promoted to a transfer out technician. She works on cases where probationers are transferred to other counties. 
Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 James Meredith honored his employee, Katrina Kam, for five years of service. “She’s a great employee,” he said. “If she doesn’t know something … she goes and finds the answer.” 
The following employees were also recognized this month for their years of dedicated service to the citizens of  
Smith County. 
15 Years: Tobby Hughes, District Attorney’s Office; and Sherman Dollison, Sheriff’s Department. 
10 Years: Atonia Rawlings, Treasurer’s Office; and Mark Jackson, Road and Bridge. 
5 Years: Kenneth Biggs, District Attorney; Maria Alaniz; Physical Plant; and Allyson White, Sheriff’s Department.