Thank you for letting me call Jefferson City home. I wouldn’t be here without you. It’s been five years since so many of you fought to keep me here, and I will never forget it.

Many of you were blessed to grow up around Jefferson City; I chose to move here. KRCG was actually the only TV offer I had coming out of college, and I was hired to be a weekend weatherman, even though I didn’t know anything about the weather (other than I got wet when it rained). I finally ended up in sports. I never dreamed I would be here for more than 25 years.

I met my wife, Lana, in Jefferson City, and we’ve raised our three beautiful daughters —Brittany, Brooke and Paige — here. I don’t know a better place to raise a family, and I truly treasure the many relationships we’ve built throughout the area.

I don’t know of a more charitable community than Jefferson City, and I’ve been blessed to be a part of so many wonderful events and organizations that raise funds for so many worthy causes. I’m thankful for my role at the Naught-Naught Agency that allows me to serve others, as they’ve taught me so much about putting faith into action. The Naughts inspire me and many others to serve our community.

Although I’ve had opportunities to cover World Series, Super Bowls, University of Missouri bowl games and NCAA tournaments, I really feel most at home covering our local high schools. I love covering our kids from our families in our schools.

That love was returned to me in an unbelievable way five years ago. It’s something that just doesn’t happen in my business — unless God blessed you with a community such as Jefferson City.

May 22, 2008: I was called into the general manager’s office and told I was no longer needed. Jobs had to be cut in a bad economy, and we could not afford to cover local sports. After 23 years at KRCG, I was being let go.

I didn’t know what we would do or where we would go, but I had faith in the Lord who did. What happened over the next few weeks forever changed my life — and I had nothing to do with it.

The station ownership in Chicago didn’t know the power of the people in central Missouri. Thanks to an online petition, phone calls and emails from viewers and local business leaders, KRCG asked me to come back to work.

The Jefferson City business community has since shown we do care about our local sports coverage and we do care about covering our local kids and our schools. Watch a KRCG sportscast today, and you’ll see our many sponsors who prove this to be so.

Thank you, Jefferson City. There’s no place like home.

Rod Smith is the sports director at KRCG-TV13 and has been voted the City’s Best TV Personality in Jefferson City for three consecutive years. He enjoys covering high school, college and professional athletics in Missouri and is mostly known for “Rod’s Big Ol’ Fish!” Although he loves sports, Smith’s priorities remain with his faith and family: his wife, Lana, and their three daughters, Brittany, Brooke and Paige.