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Ethel Smith, wife of American Refrigeration owner Chris Smith (left), joins in thanking those who came to their 60th anniversary event on Saturday, May 4. Local police, fire and other first responders were especially invited for a meal and other activities as the company’s thanks for their service.

When American Refrigeration in Olive Branch decided it wanted to celebrate 60 years in business last week, owner Chris Smith used the landmark not to heap praise on himself, but rather thank the customers and also a specific group he needed to put a spotlight on.

“We want to recognize the ones who keep us safe,” Smith said. “They are the emergency first responders of the community. We wanted to welcome them out and have a good meal and fellowship. It was good to see them around kids so the kids can see that they are good people and the kids don’t have to be afraid of them and respect them as they grow up.”

During the day, the first responders came out to the American Refrigeration location off old Highway 78 in Olive Branch as their shift hours would allow to get fed on BBQ.

A fire truck was brought out for the youngsters to see and a bounce house and bean bag toss were also set up.

Smith said the event took note of six decades of service to the Olive Branch community.

“We’re a company that stands by their word and does what they say,” Smith said. “I was brought up on the values that my dad would always say: ‘You could stand to lose a little money, but you can’t stand to lose a shred of your repetition.’ Do what you say, do the right thing and that carries on here.”

Smith’s father, Ross A. Smith, founded the company in 1959. The now-CEO of the HVAC provider, installer and service concern said Saturday’s event also was a way to say thanks to customers he has enjoyed working with over his time with the company.

“I enjoy dealing with customers,” Smith said. “I enjoy solving problems.”

Bob Bakken is Managing Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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