By RON GOWER
Over my 40-plus years of being a reporter, I've worked with some very good community leaders. Among them were Lehighton Borough Manager Mortimer Smedley and Lehighton Chief of Police Lionel Cote.
Both served the local community in the '80s.
Where are they now?
Both are living in sunny Florida.
Cote came here from Lewiston, Maine. One of his great stories was how he was a security officer for the championship boxing match between Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston
He last served as chief of police in Satellite Beach, Fla., a position he held for 26 years and the community where he makes his residence. He officially retired July 31, 2011, with more than 400 people attending a retirement party for him.
Cote was honored for over 50 years in law enforcement, including serving as a trooper with the Maine State Police.
He is enjoying his retirement in Satellite Beach playing golf, riding his bike, and just soaking up the sun.
Smedley, after serving Lehighton for 18 years, went on to become the Carbon County Administrator for nine years before eventually leaving the area in 1998. From Lehighton, he went to St. Mary's County, Maryland, where he was the administrator for two years.
Smedley is semi-retired but is often called upon by the U.S. Homeland Security department to assist in various national emergencies including floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. He was dispatched to New Orleans after Katrina and since then has served in several states.
Smedley lives close enough to Cote in Florida that they remain in contact and occasionally see each other. He attended Chief Cote's retirement party last year.
Once in awhile, the former Lehighton manager returns to the local area.
Since his retirement, he has been very active.
He has made several trips to sea on a research vessel with the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in Ft. Pierce, Fla., where he had served as Second Mate on the vessel.
In 2008, he was called upon by the town of Milton, N.C. to serve as interim city manager. The previous manager had resigned due to a tense political climate, and Smedley was brought in to handle the crisis.
In August 2011, he was dispatched by FEMA as a Community Recovery Specialist to the town of Monson, Mass. after a devastating tornado hit the area.
When he served as Lehighton Borough Manager, one of his goals was to have a hydroelectric generating plant constructed. He was ahead of his time on green energy and his concept was carried nationwide in wire stories. Unfortunately, his dream never materialized, but it is still being pursued in the borough today.
So, as you can see, both Mort Smedley and Lionel Cote are still doing very well, enjoying retirement in different ways.