Ben's Bells: Teen has unwavering commitment

From left, Peter Norback with Carl, Luke, Patricia and Maria Maes (with Ben's Bell) and Julia Toews and Kylie Walzak.

The recipient of this week's Ben's Bell is Pat Smyser, whose volunteer work keeps the neighborhood pool open.

She was nominated by Terry Nash, whose niece swims at the Terra Del Sol neighborhood pool. She calls Smyser "instrumental" in keeping the pool running for the past 20 years.

"In the beginning, while working full time, she volunteered at the pool because it was a healthy and safe place for her children to spend their summer. She was a big part of the summer swim team, timing at meets, helping in the snack bar and other various duties," Nash wrote in her nomination.

When the Terra Del Sol homeowners association gave up running the pool, Smyser took on an even greater role. She serves on the board of directors for the pool, which is open to anyone for a membership fee. She teaches swim lessons, repairs broken equipment, cleans the pool and maintains the landscaping.

"Smyser organizes monthly steak fries for the adults, sends out monthly newsletters and makes sure the annual Fourth of July pool party goes off without a hitch," Nash said.

"Pat has personally sponsored family memberships and swim team member fees, along with helping financially when pool expenses have exceeded membership fees. The benefits to our local neighborhood community, by giving families a healthy, fun way to spend the time each summer, is a precious commodity. Hundreds of children have benefited by Pat's devotion to their well being."

The project

Ben's Bells promote kindness and community. It was started in 2003 by the family of Ben Maré Packard as a way to honor the 2-year-old who died of croup a year earlier. Each week a person who betters Tucson is "belled."

Go to to submit a name. Go to or call 628-2829 for information. Recipients also are featured on Friday's Morning Blend on KGUN 9.

Contact reporter Kimberly Matas at or at 573-4191.