Annual Awards

The Smith Mountain Lake Association presents, up to five, community awards each year at the Annual Meeting. The awards recognize individuals or groups who have made significant contributions to the Smith Mountain Lake community over the past year or an extended time period. Nominations for the Melvin S. Johnston Citizen Volunteer Award and the Spirit of the Lake Award are accepted until August 31 of the current year (nomination forms are linked following the description of the award and past recipients). The Stream of the Year Award is voted on by the Save Our Streams members. The Water Safety Council (WSC) award recipients are determined by members of the WSC.

SMLA Award Descriptions and Prior Years Recipients

The Melvin S. Johnston Citizen Volunteer Award is named in honor of Melvin Johnston, the founder of the Smith Mountain Lake Association (the SMLBA), real estate broker, land developer, and philanthropist. This award is presented to one or more people who have made the greatest contribution to the quality of life at Smith Mountain Lake either during the prior calendar year or over an extended time period. The winner should demonstrate one or more of the following criteria:

  • Made an impact on SML environmental issues
  • Made significant improvements to water safety
  • Exhibited effective management of lake maintenance issues
  • Implemented projects/ programs within the Smith Mountain Lake Association
  • Demonstrated leadership
  • Exercised lake and/or community stewardship

2000Jeanne Wagoner
2001Bob Hawlk
2002Len Gereau
2003Ken Dugan
2004Dr. Carolyn ThomasDr. David Johnson
2005Paul Howell
2006Ralph Brush
2007Stanley Smith
2008Bruce DunganPete Lewis
2009Al Busch
2010Bonnie Johnson
2011Daphine JamisonBill Telford
2012Russ Johnson
2013DE English
2014Kristina Mize
2015Larry Iceman
2016Don Kelso
2017Bob Camicia
2018Robert Whitener
2019VT CrawfordJane Crawford
2020Randy Stow
2021Lori SmithDr. Bob Pohlad
2022Patrick Massa
2023John Rupnik

Submit a Nomination Form for Melvin S. Johnson Citizen Volunteer Award

The SMLA Spirit of the Lake Award recognizes that we are fortunate to be living in these beautiful mountains that surround us and the waters of Smith Mountain Lake.  There are many people, groups, businesses and organizations that cumulatively make up the Spirit of the Lake.  This award may be presented to one or more nominees.  A nominee should routinely demonstrate their Spirit of the Lake in one or more of the following criteria (long-term efforts should enhance the nomination): 

  • Creating a unique and positive lake business environment.
  • Promoting recreational activities for local residents and vacationers.
  • Establishing an atmosphere to support community members in times of need.
  • Providing opportunities to expand community involvement in individual self-development classes.
  • Fostering positive youth development through water-related programs or technical training opportunities.
  • Promoting environmental awareness and related programs.
  • Supporting outreach with neighboring communities for regional cooperative development.
  • Demonstrating exceptional actions as a Steward of the Lake.

2020Chris Bechtler
2021Dave & Cindy CappalleriTiffany & Bruno Silva
2022Dan Wilson
2023Travis Burke

Submit a Nomination Form for SMLA Spirit of the Lake Award

SMLA-WSC Award Descriptions and Recipients

Karl Martin Water Safety Award annually recognizes an individual, business, or organization for their outstanding contributions in advancing safety on the waters of Smith Mountain Lake. 

2010Karl Martin
2011Paul Howell
2012Arthur Cournoyer
2013Pete Lewis
2014VE David Brown
2015Jerry Hale
2016George Tawes
2017Randolph Stow
2018Bruce Dungan
2019Rick & Nancy Ellett
2020Thomas Merriman
2021Todd Ohlerich
2022Patrick Massa

The Smith Mountain Lake Water Safety Council Lifesaving Award, recognizes an individual or individuals who because of their actions saved a life on, and/or immediately surrounding Smith Mountain Lake.  The lifesaving act must be verified by Public Safety and/or EMS providers to the extent that if no action had been taken the victim most likely would not have survived.

2014Shane Wolferd
2015Raphael Traen
2016Cheryl CockramDr. Kevin Dye
2017Brandi HudsonCpl. Sonny Daniels

The Smith Mountain Lake Clean Stream of the Year Award recognizes land owners or managers whose actions have improved water quality in a stream monitored regularly by the Save our Streams staff. Nominees will have implemented significant environmental efforts to upgrade riparian conditions supporting clean water and will have made a major contribution, often including unremunerated costs, to the overall water quality of the lake. Primary goals are to encourage other land owners and managers to increase efforts to enhance stream water quality and also to make the public aware of the positive outcomes of SMLA’s overall water quality program. The SOS team chiefs and trainers are those eligible to nominate a stream for the award. The selection committee, chosen by the Save Our Streams (SOS) coordinator, will consist of the SOS coordinator; a member of the Lake Quality Council; and one other SOS trainer/team chief. The winner should demonstrate one or more of the following criteria

  • The stream will be one that is regularly monitored by our Save our Streams staff;
  • The committee will consider a nominated stream based on its record from the previous calendar year;
  • The stream will have received a water quality score of nine or above on a scale of one to twelve during the previous year, both fall and spring;
  • Successful efforts to improve the stream’s water quality (e.g., creating riparian buffer zones, fencing out livestock access, cutting back on fertilizer use in surrounding fields, etc.) should be equally weighted with the raw score;
  • A stream will not be eligible to receive the award in consecutive years;
  • The committee will be authorized to make the final decision, which will be passed through the LQC to the SMLA Board for action.
(Based on prior year testing)
2023David Hurt