Ray Smith is a man of many missions, a man of many hats and he wears them well: Secret City historian, U.S. Air Force Vietnam veteran, Chaplain Emeritus, having served the Oak Ridge Police Department for 23 years. Mr. Smith is also an engaging storyteller, author, videographer, Tennessee Historical Commission Commissioner, teacher, photographer, documentary producer, multi award-winning citizen, church elder, father, and devoted husband to his beloved wife of 57 years.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Ray Smith in May 2021 when he gave me a tour of the Oak Ridge History Museum as part of my research trip for the book I’m writing on the integration of Oak Ridge in the 1960s. What a delight to discover he was a police chaplain as I’m about to embark on a series featuring law enforcement officers from around the country.
Mr. Ray Smith’s achievements resemble what would take several men a lifetime to accomplish. He calls himself retired but shows no signs of slowing down. I’m honored to host this brave, humble hero in this video interview and share his stories, insights, and resources with you. Enjoy.
In this video interview Mr. Smith shares about:
- The history of Oak Ridge, Tennessee which was created in 1942 as one of the sites of the U.S. government’s Manhattan Project charged with the task to develop the materials for the atomic bomb that ended WWII.
- How the Oak Ridge National Laboratory continues to serve us
- Insights as a veteran
- Insights from serving as a police chaplain.
- Lots of fascinating facts, educational resources, wisdom, and MORE!
From Oak Ridge to the Moon video by Secret City Historian Ray Smith: Y-12’s role in man’s first landing on the moon.
Historically Speaking Series of Books by Oak Ridge Historian Ray Smith – Annual volumes of historical articles published in The Oak Ridger newspaper
Ray Smith’s wonderful resources are suitable for history and science lovers, educators, and those who love a good story.
Historically Speaking article in the Oak Ridger newspaper by Ray Smith: Oak Ridge history documentary films, videos
Our Hidden Past: The Prophet of Oak Ridge
Thank you for your service to our country, sir. Welcome home.
Thank you, Mr. Smith, for your example of compassion, faithfulness, love, and service in your community, your church, to God, and your family. May God continue to bless you, your work, and family.
Who is Ray Smith?
Ray Smith ensures that current and future generations can learn about the heritage, history, ongoing and planned activities in the city of Oak Ridge, TN. Through printed media complemented by film, presentations, tours, and a history center, he has made the history of the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge available to all. Almost five decades of experience at Y-12 provide Smith a deep understanding and high appreciation of its unique heritage. He is also familiar with the history of the other government sites in Oak Ridge. (He retired as Y-12 National Security Complex Historian in 2017.) He is an ambassador for Y-12 and Oak Ridge and has presented Y-12’s historic heritage story and the history of the city of Oak Ridge to universities, civic groups, school groups, conventions, conferences, technical societies, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) meetings in Las Vegas, NV, Los Alamos, NM, and Hanford, WA, and the public in several varied venues including a series of classes for Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning. He has served on the American Museum of Science and Energy Foundation Board of Directors for several years, presently chairs the Nominating Committee and is on the Executive Board. Ray has worked to assist the transition of AMSE to the present location as part of the team developing the exhibits by contributing to the historical content and authoring some of it. He also reviewed the content of all exhibits as they were developing. He contributed the same support for the K-25 History Center as it was being developed. A U. S. Air Force Vietnam veteran serving there in 1968-69, Ray has continued his service to others over the years. He is an elder of the Highland View Church of Christ, a Chaplain Emeritus of Oak Ridge Police Department and the past Chairman of United Way of Anderson County as well as past Campaign Chairman and first Alex de Tocqueville society member. He is the past Chairman of the Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties Board of Directors, the Chairman (and past chairman) of Tennessee Children’s Home Board of Trustees which serves children in all three grand divisions of Tennessee and in Bela Horizonte, Brazil. He is a board member of Friends of the Oak Ridge Public Library, presently serves on the Board of Directors for the Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge, which serves Anderson, Roane, and Morgan Counties, and continues to serve on the ADFAC Bow Tie Award Committee and the East Tennessee Economic Council’s Muddy Boot and Postma Medal Award Committee. Additionally, Ray is serving a second term on the Board of Directors for the East Tennessee Historical Society and the East Tennessee History Center. He is a member of the Tennessee Historical Society, the Oak Ridge Heritage & Preservation Association and the Anderson County Historical Society as well as the Los Alamos County Historical Society. Ray is a Commissioner, Tennessee Historical Commission and Historian for the City of Oak Ridge, TN In 2019 Ray began participating on the team led by Lee Riedinger to write a book on the history of the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge. The book, Critical Connections; How Partnerships Forged at the Dawn of the Atomic Age Helped Transform a University, a National Laboratory, and a City, is scheduled to be published in 2022.
Connect with Oak Ridge City Historian, Ray Smith: FACEBOOK EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
And thank you Mr. Smith for the opportunity and honor of contributing to your Historically Speaking Column in the Oak Ridger newspaper.
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*UPCOMING: A series of interviews featuring law enforcement officers from around the country coming soon!
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