Roy Smothermon is the president of the Edwardsburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
Smothermon was born and raised in the Oklahoma panhandle. At 56, he retired from the electric company. When his children were all grown, he and his wife moved to Edwardsburg in 2008 and have been there ever since.
His wife is a native of Niles, while his middle daughter had lived in Edwardsburg for six or seven years. Since then, his youngest and older daughter, along with her family, have relocated to the Edwardsburg-Niles area.
What do you think makes Michiana unique by comparison to other places?
Most people want to say it is the people, but there was a good group of people we left back in Oklahoma. But when we came to the Michiana area, I began to realize real quick, it was the same type of quality people. Neighbors helping neighbors, and especially with this coronavirus going on, you see people helping others all over the place.
The other thing that brought me here was the health facilities. Where I was at, you have to drive 300 miles to get to a major hospital. Here, you have to drive about 12 miles to Memorial Hospital.
My wife and I just love the trees. We live north of Edwardsburg about a mile, and we just love the trees and the four seasons we did not get out in Oklahoma. We both absolutely love snow — not the cold weather when there is no snow though.
What is your favorite place to visit in Michiana?
The South Bend Library, where they have story time where we can take the grandkids. Also, the water parks and the zoos that we have in the area. My wife and I do not do a lot of things by ourselves, but with the grandkids, we love going to those locations. Plus, when you come to Michigan, there are a lot of places to go and visit, like Frankenmuth and Mackinaw Island. But our favorite place to be is wherever we take our grandkids.
Do you think living in Michiana has changed you in any way?
My son and I have had that conversation before. It just seems like when you live in a small town out in a rural setting like I did, that you just look at the world that is around you. Being here, it really has opened my eyes that the world is a whole lot bigger than just the little bitty community that you live in. My wife and I just love living here.
What is your favorite time of year?
In the summertime, we have a swimming pool, and we enjoy having the grandkids and the kids over to swim. Then, in the wintertime, we have a little bit of a hill behind the house where we can go sledding. We go out and play in the snow. Throw snowballs and make snow angels. We enjoy both of those seasons.
If you were to meet someone planning a visit to the Michiana area for the first time, what places would you tell them or her not to miss?
One of our favorite places to eat is Salsa’s [Mexican Grill] over there in Granger. They have to go there when they come to visit. The other thing is the close proximately to all the lakes we have around here. There is Pleasant and Eagle lakes here in Edwardsburg, then you have Christiana and Diamond lakes. Just within a 20-mile radius, we probably have 12 to 15 lakes that you can get on and fish. Most of them are really beautiful.