FULTON COUNTY, Ga — A construction worker has spent 50 years on the job and is still going strong.
Clyde Smith Jr. says he’ll never forget the first time he saw it.
“Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. The old stadium where Hank Aaron hit the home runs at,” Smith said.
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At that moment, his life’s work was settled.
A then 19-year-old Clyde took classes at what was then called Atlanta Area Technical School. He became an engineering technician. Over the next half-century, he was involved in the construction of every major sports arena in the city.
Turner Field. The Georgia Dome. Mercedes-Benz Stadium. You name it.
Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen spoke with Smith and those around him, trying this milestone into perspective
Longtime friend Sheila Bryant says our heroes may have played in those places, but Clyde is the hero who had a hand in building them. All of them.
“They say I want to be like Mike. Michael Jordan. Well, Mike is good. But Clyde is better,” Bryant said.
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Sheila has known Clyde for 46 years. She says Clyde should be considered a role model for younger Black men and teenagers.
“He helped build the foundation where Mike came to perform. Many venues where those ‘Mikes” go forth and do their thing. It started with Clyde Smith,” Bryant said.
Smith’s latest project is at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He’ll be inspecting another foundation. He has worked at the same place for 50 years. Of course, there were different owners over that time, from Law Engineering in 1972 to Wood today, but it’s the same place. He has advice on how you do that.
“Treat people the way you want to be treated. Respect people on a project or a job. Respect yourself. And if you have respect for yourself and love for others, I think with the grace of God, everything falls into place,” Smith said.
Smith is about to turn 70 and has no plans to retire.
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