Milton Army veteran finds new hobby

Ramon Rios

MILTON — Frederick Smith Sr. retired from the Army as a 1st Sergeant after 22 years, then retired from the retail industry and has found peace and relaxation in sewing.

“My mom sewed a lot and she taught me the basics,” Smith said.

Those basic lessons he learned when he was young stayed with Smith as he ventured into his military career.

“I would sew every now and then throughout my life,” Smith said.

He tells the story of two female friends stationed with him in Germany. They had entered a fashion show but did not have anything to wear.

Smith told them to show him what they wanted and he could make it for them.

Another significant event that led him to sew came after returning from Germany.

“I went to (Washington) D.C., saw this shirt at Nordstrom’s for $325,” Smith said with exaggeration. “I thought to myself, ’I can make that shirt’ and I did.”

Smith is a man of many talents and does not like idle time. He is a musician and can play the trumpet, French horn, drums and keyboards. He is the drummer in a band called Young at Heart, a self-described bunch of old guys that play what he calls Christian jazz.

Smith said he is an accomplished still and video photographer, an avid angler and a pastor at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Milton.

Smith said that sewing makes him content.

“I sew by feeling,” he said. “When I sew it makes me think about the Lord, and that relaxes me.”

He is not interested in making it a business because he does not want to be obligated to deadlines.

“If someone sees something they like they can ask me if I can make it,” Smith said.

If he has the time, he will take on the project but the person asking has to buy the materials. He does not ask for payment because he is not in it for money.

“Sometimes I will put it down (sewing) and not touch it for weeks,” Smith said.

Marie Smith, his 85-year old mother, still works every day at the Council on Aging.

“I had to buy her a sewing machine because she got jealous of the things I was making and she started sewing again,” Smith said with a smile.