Smith-Hazel Recreation Center and the people who have worked, gathered, and played here have contributed much to our community’s rich history.

The City of Aiken honors the life of Ms. Betty Gyles, who dedicated much of her career in service to our community as a supervisor here at Smith-Hazel. She touched the lives of the youth, elderly, and everyone in between with her selflessness, compassion, and dedication. She poured so much of herself into caring for area elderly and youth. Her life is a beautiful reminder of what it means to love and serve our fellow man unconditionally.

In honor of her memory, legacy, and accomplishments, two events will be held this month:

On Friday, February 18, a Community Day of Service Food Distribution will occur at Smith Hazel from 9:30 – 11:00 AM (or when food resources are exhausted). The food distribution is for all ages. Upon arrival at the location, volunteers will direct vehicles and walk-up pedestrians accordingly. The Black Historical Committee of Aiken has partnered with the City of Aiken, ACTS, and Golden Harvest Food Bank to make this event possible. Pre-Registration applications are available at Smith Hazel. Volunteers are needed that morning to sort and distribute food. For more information, contact 803-844-8438.

The Black Historical Committee is proud to present the 2022 Black History Parade on Saturday, February 19, beginning at 2 PM. This year’s festivities will be dedicated to the life and work of Betty Gyles with the theme, “Excellence in Community Service.” The parade will conclude with an award and dedication ceremony in Betty’s honor at the Smith-Hazel Recreation Center. The City is excited to support this annual event and to celebrate the contributions of a truly exemplary employee and community member. 

The community is invited to come out and celebrate the spirit of service that makes Aiken the best place to call home.