Wounded veteran continues to pay it forward
Channel 3 has followed Andrew Smith's story from injury to recovery, and later when a local organization built him a home.
Andrew Smith is a retired Army veteran, who was wounded while serving in Afghanistan.
Channel 3 has followed Smith's story from injury to recovery, and later when a local organization built him a home.
Smith is very open when it comes to talking about his experience. He is a double amputee, he lost part of both legs after stepping on an IED.
Even after his sacrifice to this country, he is still giving back.
"To be a part of that line of service that so many people before me have carried on, I'm proud of it and I don't want to forget my contribution to it," said Smith.
Smith calls it a contribution, while many of us would call it a sacrifice. Smith was a paratrooper.
"I just felt a duty, I felt compelled to enlist,” said Smith, “And that's what I did. I'm glad I did it."
Smith is glad he served our country even though he is no longer on the front lines. How he left the war is a story he is more than willing to share.
"I remember everything,” he recalled, “I remember the explosion, flying through the air, hitting the ground."
His memories of the day he stepped on that IED are vivid.
"Flying through the air,” he recalled, “Dust and debris all around me."
The impact is with him every day, but he considers that moment in time just one of life's battles and refuses to lose the war to his enemy.
"If the Taliban couldn't kill me they probably would for sure find a victory knowing they injured me so badly I couldn't find any joy in life anymore," Smith explained.
So, he finds every victory he can, with his wife tori, and their baby boy.
"We just try to live everyday finding the smallest victories,” he said, “Not to let the enemy find a victory in anything."
However, he will always remember one big victory, surviving that IED explosion.
The medic who helped him was only 19 at the time. Every year on March 8th, the day he calls his alive day, Smith makes sure to thank him.
"He’s super humble and acts like he didn't do anything special,” Smith laughs, “He's like, 'oh I didn't do anything. I was just doing what I was supposed to do,’ but he saved my life and my wife and I are forever grateful."
Now, even as if he hasn't already given back to his country, Smith continues to pay it forward by helping others through his foundation Honoring the Sacrifice.
He uses his story to give back to those who continue to answer the call.
"It’s part of that story,” said Smith, “Its part of that sacrifice that men and women have endured."
Honoring the Sacrifice helps service members and veterans through financial contributions and providing them with resources.
For more information on the organization and how you can help, click here.
Smith's wife, Tori, left law school to help him recover. She recently went back to finish her law degree and will graduate in December.