Black recognized for service to the community

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – The former owner of a town-based business that has reportedly supported more than 100 different programs and charities over the past decade was recognized this week by members of the North Smithfield Town Council.

Michael Black, who owned of National Marker Company from 2012 until its recent sale, received a citation from the board at their meeting on Monday, April 5.

“His generosity knew no limits,” said Council President John Beauregard. “He never said ‘no.'”

“We decided that upon the sale of your business that you’re worthy of a citation from the town as a sign of our appreciation,” Beauregard told Black. 

Beauregard said he researched some of the things National Marker and Black contributed over the years and came up with more than 100 different causes.

The list includes custom “big head” signs created for last year’s graduating class and signs for 8th graders moving up; the town’s soccer program and North Smithfield Athletic League; support for the high school robotics program, and creation of, “a day of manufacturing,” at the business for elementary school students. 

Black also provided funding for a North Smithfield Police Department K-9, banners for Pumpkinfest, street signs for the town and a $30,000 printer for the high school, to name just a few of his contributions.

“I could make the list a lot longer,” Beauregard said.

Addressing Black’s two sons and daughter, present for the acknowledgement at the council’s Monday meeting, Councilor Claire O’Hara told them that she was taught, “the measure of success is not what you accrue, but if you leave the world a better place.”

“You are very lucky to have been given your parents as role models,” O’Hara said.

Councilors presented flowers to Black’s wife, Michelle Black.

“Mike Black and the Black family have been so philanthropic to our town,” said Town Administrator Paul Zwolenski. “Word can’t express how grateful the residents of this town are to the Black family.”

Councilor Paul Vadenais said one of his greatest contributions to the community was Black’s decision to keep his business in North Smithfield.

“He could have moved the business out of town and he made a commitment to keep it here,” Vadenais said. 

Black thanked the councilors for both the citation and their service. 

“We don’t do things for recognition,” Black said. “I know you work very hard and I want to thank you for doing what you do.” 

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