Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Carroll Smith—Chesapeake’s First Citizen of 2018 Story


by Marianne Chalk

Chesapeake First Citizen Carroll Smith with his wife, Jacqueline, and their dog Coco.

Chesapeake First Citizen Carroll Smith with his wife, Jacqueline, and their dog Coco.

In 1911, the Rotary Club adapted the motto: “He profits most who serves best.” Carroll Smith has profited much, serving the community of Chesapeake as an unselfish and thoughtful leader. In recognition of service above self, Carroll is the 2018 Chesapeake First Citizen Award recipient. “I am humbled by this prestigious honor,” he declares.

Empathy for others and concern for community needs have led Carroll to support the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, the Salvation Army and Union Mission. “CHKD is very important to me,” he affirms. “It is heartwarming to know they are helping all children, that no child is ever turned away. I consider my support for this wonderful organization to be my most important achievement.” Carroll has been contributing financially to CHKD for the past 25 years. “It all began when my son unexpectedly became ill.” he explains. “The care he received had a profound effect on me and my wife.”

“CHKD is very important to me.
It is heartwarming
to know they are helping all children,
that no child is ever turned away.”

—Carroll Smith

Carroll’s other activities include membership in the Lions Club; participation in Chesapeake Public Schools Education Fund Blue Ribbon Committee; being a charter member of the Chesapeake Sports Club, and filling leadership roles in the Cub Scouts. A life-long passion for sports inspired Carroll to not only coach youth baseball and football, but also to support Virginia Tech and Old Dominion Athletics. In 2007, he  joined with others to donate the scoreboard to Grassfield High School’s baseball field. To honor his commitment to local sports, he was named Chesapeake Sports Club 2018 Member of the Year. “I am not participating in sports these days,” he admits with a laugh, “but this award was an incredible honor.”

As one of four principal owners of Hearndon Construction Corporation, Carroll has taken advantage of many opportunities to give back to the community. Carroll joined the company in the 1970s, later becoming a minority owner. In 2005, he purchased the company and now serves as President and CEO. Heardon Construction is a major land developer and home builder in Southside Hampton Roads and Northeastern North Carolina. However, the company’s main focus is Chesapeake, where its corporate headquarters are located. “We’ve built thousands of homes and created numerous communities,” he states. “From a philanthropic standpoint, we have given away a house through Habitat for Humanity, and contributed extensively to the scholarship program of Tidewater Builders Association. It was a true joy to be a blessing to others.” Additionally, the business supports Chesapeake City Schools, the YMCA and Chesapeake Regional Hospital.

Carroll credits his late business partner Bill Hearring for mentoring him in his philanthropic efforts. “Bill passed away in 2004, but he was a risk-taker with vision and great courage,” Carroll reflects. “He taught me the importance of strong foundations in business and in life. Good financial stewardship is very important. A willingness to work hard and treat people fairly also contributes to success.”

A strong personal foundation in life is reflected in Carroll’s fifty-eight-year marriage to his wife, Jacqueline. “She was my high school sweetheart,” Carroll recalls. “We met at a school dance. She was vibrant and full of life. She was beautiful then, and she’s beautiful now.” Mutual respect has governed their relationship. Together they have two sons, Douglas and Roland, four grandchildren and one six-year-old great-grandson. Carroll views his legacy of giving as setting an example for his family. “I want to be an example of what it means to serve; to be blessed and be a blessing,” he explains thoughtfully.

 “I love this community
and the people who live here.
My vision for the future always includes
what is in Chesapeake’s best interest.”

—Carroll Smith

Family time is very important to Carroll. Although he resides in Chesapeake, a house in Nags Head provides the perfect spot for weekend family gatherings. “Some of my favorite family times are at our home in Nags Head,” he shares. “There is plenty of space for the entire family. We may have as many as 25 to 30 people—part of my wife’s extended family and my two siblings.”  Holidays have provided some fun-filled memories for Carol, as has as one-on-one time with his great-grandson at Disney World. “All that fun was a little rough on me,” he adds with a laugh.

Carroll and Jacqueline also enjoy world travel. “Australia and Alaska were two of my favorite places that we’ve visited,” he recalls joyfully. “We’ve traveled throughout Europe. Taking a Rhine River Cruise was an excellent way to see so many cities.” He admits that Jacqueline travels more than he does these days. “I’m the workaholic!” he confesses.

Although Carroll admits to being seventy-seven years old, he has no plans to stop working. “I enjoy what I do,” he proclaims. “My oldest son, Douglas, who was a school teacher for 18 years, became an owner of Hearndon Construction in 2006. He performs the fieldwork that I once did, and that gives me the freedom to now work at my own pace.”

Love of family, the joy of work and a passion for giving create a circle of contentment for Carroll. His great affection for the city of Chesapeake only deepens that contentment.  A native of  Kinston, North Carolina, Carroll moved to South Norfolk in 1964, and thirteen years later, he and Jacqueline relocated to the Wilson Heights section of Great Bridge. Currently, the couple call the Edinburgh area of Chesapeake home. “I love this community and the people who live here,” Carroll proudly asserts. His commitment to the area is evident in his company’s continual construction of high-quality homes as well as his heartfelt belief in the city’s future. “My vision for the future always includes what is in Chesapeake’s best interest.” he insists.

The plans spread out on his desk are evidence of his ongoing work to make that vision a reality. Always on the alert for new ways to lend a helping hand, Carroll is a true servant-leader in local business and in the community at large.

Chesapeake First Citizen Carroll Smith

Chesapeake First Citizen Carroll Smith

First Citizen Banquet

Thursday, September 20th | 7 pm

Chesapeake Conference Center


Chesapeake Rotary - First Citizen