A $16,130 check from The Mississippi Shelter Agents and Employees Foundation was presented to the Philadelphia Athletic Booster Club Friday night to help fund the new Greg Smith Memorial Weight Room at PHS. Smith began raising money to improve the weigh room prior to his death on June 26. Smith’s wife, Missy, center, and other family members were present for the presentation in Harpole Stadium.  Above, from left, Shelter Agent Danny Howell, Missy Smith and Kim Mars, president of the Athletic Booster Club, hold the check.
A $16,130 check from The Mississippi Shelter Agents and Employees Foundation was presented to the Philadelphia Athletic Booster Club Friday night to help fund the new Greg Smith Memorial Weight Room at PHS. Smith began raising money to improve the weigh room prior to his death on June 26. Smith’s wife, Missy, center, and other family members were present for the presentation in Harpole Stadium. Above, from left, Shelter Agent Danny Howell, Missy Smith and Kim Mars, president of the Athletic Booster Club, hold the check.
The Greg Smith Memorial Weight Room at Philadelphia High School moved closer to reality last week with a major donation presented to the Athletic Booster Club.

Before a crowded stadium during halftime of Friday night's football game, Philadelphia Shelter Insurance agent Danny Howell presented a check for $16,130 to the Booster Club for the memorial.

Smith operated Shelter Insurance Agency on Holland Avenue before his death on June 26 at age 48.

A 1983 graduate of Philadelphia High School, Smith quarterbacked the Tornadoes in 1981 when Marcus Dupree, the most highly sought after running back in the nation, was a senior.

The effort to raise money for the weight room started before Smith's death.

Late last year, the new president of Shelter Insurance wanted agents to give back more to local communities so he formed a committee with that in mind, Howell said.

"He started a committee, The Mississippi Shelter Agents and Employees Foundation, that Greg and I were on," Howell said.

At the same time Smith had begun to raise funds to refurbish the PHS weight room, he said.

After his death, Howell said the committee decided to support his project.

"So many people knew him and we wanted to do something in lieu of flowers," Howell said.

A goal of $10,000 was set and the group started to collect funds.

By 3 p.m. on Friday, they had collected $14,500 but Howell was determined to continue collecting until the check was delivered later that night.

At 7:45 p.m., Howell stood on the Philadelphia High School Football Field with members of the Smith family, the Booster Club and football team and proudly presented a check for $16,130.

"It's a testament to Greg's life," he said. "We did it to honor him."

In addition, Howell said several people have committed to writing checks in the near future for the project as well.

"He [Greg] was the kind of guy that was friends with everyone," he said.

The money will go towards new flooring and repainting the current room, as well as new, custom made weights.

"A friend of Greg's got them a good deal," Howell said. "The weights will be specially made for the school."

Booster Club President Kim Mars said Smith was a big Philadelphia supporter who once played for the school. He oldest son played football and graduated from PHS while the younger sons are on the team now.

"It was always important to him," Mars said. "There was no better way to remember him."

Smith is survived by his wife, Missy Ingram Smith; three sons, Gregory Latimer Smith, John Harold Wesley Smith and William Morris Smith; his mother, Sonja Yvonne Smith; and two sisters, Janet Smith Hillman and Melody Smith Webb.

He was preceded in death by his father, Harold Lamar Smith; and his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry L. Smith and Mr. and Mrs. James M. Smith.