Dr. Willie Smith

"I grew up in Fayetteville and my father ran the local FCX farm supply store. As a child, I learned to take care of our farm animals among my other chores at home and at the store. When I was 13 years old my horse Honey O'Mine broke open the door to the feed room and got sick with colic from overeating. It was very tough for me to see her in so much pain and I was amazed at how quickly she was able to get relief when Dr. Garrett arrived on the farm and went to work. I decided that very day that I wanted to become a veterinarian."

I was accepted as a member of the second class of students admitted to the new veterinary school at North Carolina State University beginning in the fall of 1982. During college I worked at Six Forks Animal Hospital and at Apex Veterinary Hospital. The doctors at Apex bought Willowrun from Dr. Bug Swearingen in 1985 and hired me to begin work alongside Dr. Kurt Zimmerman. My new bride Carol and I moved to Smithfield in the spring of 1986. 

Veterinary medicine is a very interesting career and I have enjoyed working here in Johnston County. This community is also a wonderful place to raise a family. Carol and I have 2 sons and both of them are graduates of Smithfield-Selma High School and North Carolina State University. Rhett is a middle school teacher and lives in Washington, DC with his wife Katie. Kevin is a construction engineer and lives in Clayton with his wife Erin. 

Another great aspect of living in Smithfield has been the opportunity to get involved in a close knit community. We treasure our membership at First Baptist Church along with the many close friends we have made in our congregation. I am a charter member of the Rotary Club of Central Johnston County and enjoy staying involved with the different avenues of service that it offers. I have been on several international mission trips with both our church and with Rotary and love the chance to travel and serve. 

I have worked at Willowrun for my entire career and have experienced our transition from a rural, farm call based practice to one that now focuses mostly on pets seen in our facility. I value the history of the practice and the fact that it has been in operation since 1946. I have had the change to work with some wonderful associate veterinarians and am very fortunate to have a great business partner in Dr. Eileen Langdon. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve the people and pets in our community alongside our dedicated and talented staff members. 

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