Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Susan Shinn
Salisbury Post
Thanks to the hard work of Wilson Smith, one of the Food Lion founders, the family foundation that bears his name had the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the community.
But where should the money go?
“We as a family looked around and said, is there one organization that impacts every person in Rowan County?” says Ronnie Smith, Wilson Smith’s son and president of the foundation. “We felt that the medical center would allow us to have the greatest impact.”
“If you’ve got your health,” Ronnie Smith says, “you’ve got everything. Every single family in Rowan County at some point will have a need for the medical center and quality health care.
“That’s why we’ve been so focused.”
Longtime supporters of Rowan Regional Medical Center, the Smith family gave $5.4 million to create the Smith Heart and Vascular Center. In November, Wilson Smith gave an additional $1 million for the hospital’s Partners in Progress Capital Campaign.
The Wilson L. Smith Family Foundation has made grants to other organizations over the years ó they’ve supported their church, Lenoir-Rhyne College, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, and many social services organizations ó but the family’s hearts have been in health care.
“One of my father’s greatest qualities is his faith,” Smith says. “He says that we should thank God for all the blessings he has given us, and it’s right thing to do to return those blessings to the community.”
Smith says that he and his family have heard “many wonderful stories” of people who have benefitted from the hospital and its services.