Trooper who lost his sight speaks to help others - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Trooper who lost his sight speaks to help others overcome traumatic events

Posted: Updated:

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - He has lived through some of life's most traumatic experiences including losing his sight and his children yet he has moved forward with a purpose to help others overcome adversity. Former Louisiana State trooper Bobby Smith shared his story with Mahoning Valley officers at Youngstown State University Tuesday night.

March 14, 1986 started like any other day for Louisiana State trooper Bobby Smith.

Then during a drug interdiction detail a heavy drug user, who he's told was enamored with the character of John Rambo, changed his life.

"When I pulled this car over at 11:30 p.m. at night he stepped out with a 12 gauge shotgun shooting and I returned fire and the suspect was killed in the exchange of gunfire and I was shot in the face and totally blinded. It would turn my life upside down," Smith said.

Smith lost his eyesight, career and marriage at a time when law enforcement's message was to suck it up. He feels progress has been made in changing that attitude, which he now preaches to officers and their families.

"It's OK for big boys to cry. It's ok to ask for help as a police officer. It's not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength."

He went on to earn a masters degree in exercise physiology and a doctorate in counseling psychology, author three books, remarry and overcome even more adversity.

"Thirteen years ago my daughter was killed in a traffic accident, three years ago my son in college died of a drug overdose and things don't make sense but even when I talk about the loss of my sight and my career and my children, there have been positive things come from that not for me but for cops all over the country."

Smith's mother died when he was ten but her sense of optimism has stayed with him. He sends home the message during his speech to not take life for granted because you don't know what tomorrow will bring.

Smith is currently a motivational speaker and director of the Louisiana State Police Troopers Assistance Program.

He founded the FORTE Foundation which stands for Foundation for Officers Recovering from Traumatic Events in Baton Rouge. He is also starting a "Badges Coffee Club" in Baton Rouge that will be a model for across the country.

  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Toledo zoo welcomes 100-year-old tortoise

    Toledo zoo welcomes 100-year-old tortoise

    Thursday, August 28 2014 8:11 AM EDT2014-08-28 12:11:09 GMT
    TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - The newest resident of the Toledo Zoo is a 100-year-old dome-shelled Galapagos tortoise that weighs in at 440 pounds. The tortoise, named Emerson, arrived at the zoo Wednesday night from the San Diego Zoo. He was escorted by Toledo Zoo personnel on his flight to Detroit before being driven to Toledo and uncrated inside a heated shed. Handlers welcomed him with carrot and sweet potato treats and a neck rub. The (Toledo) Blade reports Emerson is the zoo's first Galapagos to...More >>
    TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - The newest resident of the Toledo Zoo is a 100-year-old dome-shelled Galapagos tortoise that weighs in at 440 pounds. The tortoise, named Emerson, arrived at the zoo Wednesday night from the San Diego Zoo. He was escorted by Toledo Zoo personnel on his flight to Detroit before being driven to Toledo and uncrated inside a heated shed. Handlers welcomed him with carrot and sweet potato treats and a neck rub. The (Toledo) Blade reports Emerson is the zoo's first Galapagos to...More >>
  • Ohio serial rapist gets 135 years in prison

    Ohio serial rapist gets 135 years in prison

    Thursday, August 28 2014 8:10 AM EDT2014-08-28 12:10:21 GMT
    CLEVELAND (AP) - A man who was linked to seven Cleveland-area rapes when authorities reopened hundreds of previously unsolved rape cases has been sentenced to up to 135 years in prison. The sentence by a judge in Cuyahoga County on Wednesday means 69-year-old Robert Green likely will never get out of prison. He was indicted in five of the cases in November and two more in May. He pleaded guilty. The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reports that the rapes occurred over nearly a decade. They were unso...More >>
    CLEVELAND (AP) - A man who was linked to seven Cleveland-area rapes when authorities reopened hundreds of previously unsolved rape cases has been sentenced to up to 135 years in prison. The sentence by a judge in Cuyahoga County on Wednesday means 69-year-old Robert Green likely will never get out of prison. He was indicted in five of the cases in November and two more in May. He pleaded guilty. The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reports that the rapes occurred over nearly a decade. They were unso...More >>
  • Drone delays landing of Ohio hospital chopper

    Drone delays landing of Ohio hospital chopper

    Thursday, August 28 2014 8:08 AM EDT2014-08-28 12:08:46 GMT
    DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Officials at a southwest Ohio hospital say a drone flying near the building delayed the landing of an emergency medical helicopter for nine minutes. The health of the patient aboard the helicopter trying to land at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton wasn't compromised, but an official says the man flying the drone violated an FAA guideline that the operator must be at least 400 feet away from a hospital. Dayton Daily News reports that the Monday incident highlights the need ...More >>
    DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Officials at a southwest Ohio hospital say a drone flying near the building delayed the landing of an emergency medical helicopter for nine minutes. The health of the patient aboard the helicopter trying to land at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton wasn't compromised, but an official says the man flying the drone violated an FAA guideline that the operator must be at least 400 feet away from a hospital. Dayton Daily News reports that the Monday incident highlights the need ...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms