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>>

  • As US economy accelerates, Fed remains cautious

    As US economy accelerates, Fed remains cautious

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:39 AM EDT2014-07-31 11:39:42 GMT
    After a dismal winter, the U.S. economy sprang back to life in the April-June quarter, growing at a fast 4 percent annual rate on the strength of higher consumer and business spending.More >>
    After a grim start to 2014, the U.S. economy has rebounded with vigor and should show renewed strength into next year.More >>
  • Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

    Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 8:26 PM EDT2014-07-31 00:26:47 GMT
    A Palestinian health official says 13 people were killed after tank shells hit a U.N. school in Gaza where hundreds of Palestinians had taken refuge from Israeli attacks.More >>
    Israeli artillery shells tore through the walls of a U.N. school crowded with sleeping war refugees and back-to-back explosions rocked a market filled with shoppers Wednesday as Israel's stepped up campaign against...More >>
  • Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

    Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:49 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:49:43 GMT
    Republicans are ready to muscle legislation through the House authorizing an election-year lawsuit against President Barack Obama that accuses him of exceeding his powers in enforcing his health care law.More >>
    A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Obama and other...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