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Legislative legend Oce Smith gets national honor

Exponent Telegram photo by Roger Adkins  Rick DeLeon, right, president of the National Legislative Service and Security Association, presents Oce Smith Jr. with the President's Charter Member Achievement Award. Smith is a founding member of the organization.
Exponent Telegram photo by Roger Adkins
Rick DeLeon, right, president of the National Legislative Service and Security Association, presents Oce Smith Jr. with the President’s Charter Member Achievement Award. Smith is a founding member of the organization.

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Oce W. Smith Jr. was honored Monday by the National Legislative Services and Security Association, an organization he helped found.

During a ceremony at The Arbors of Fairmont, Smith received the President’s Charter Member Achievement Award, which is the organization’s highest honor.

Smith is a West Virginia icon, his friends say. He was elected sergeant-at-arms of the West Virginia House of Delegates on Jan. 31, 1967.

He held the position for 45 years, making him the longest-serving sergeant-at-arms in the United States. He served under a dozen governors and 13 house speakers.

During his time, he worked with many state and national dignitaries.

Smith said he has many fond recollections of driving for one of his favorite politicians, Jennings Randolph, who served in both the House and then the Senate during his illustrious career. Smith also fondly remembers meeting several presidents, including John F. Kennedy and Gerald Ford, as well as many other government figures, such as FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

“Henry Kissinger changed neckties in my room once,” Smith said.

Robin Stultz works at the West Virginia House of Delegates and was Smith’s secretary for many years. She presented Smith with his citation from the West Virginia House of Delegates.

She said Smith has lived a unique life…

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