Some might consider 44 year old OIF Army Veteran, Anthony Smith, a walking, talking miracle. Smith is a combat fighter who came back to Blytheville, AR with brain damage, missing part of an arm, a hip, a kidney and half of his vision. Seven years ago, on the night of April 24, 2004, Smith was checking supplies in a camp north of Baghdad when his infantry unit came under attack. This day would change his life forever. Smith has suffered and endured much in his young life. He has survived the “visible and invisible” scars of war, with more than 206 surgeries, and severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). His right leg is 3 inches shorter than his left leg due to a hip replacement, and he sustained burns along the right side of his body.
Fast forward to August 2011—Smith is receiving his medical, physical, and recreational therapy at the Memphis VA Medical Center located on 1030 Jefferson Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104. Smith is extremely active and participates in several outreach programs such as: OEF/OIF/OND Welcome Home/Job Fair events, Homeless Outreach/Stand-down, and he continues to compete in the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic games. He is considered a celebrity among local Veterans. Smith has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, numerous TV interviews, USA Today newspaper, Memphis Magazine, The Commercial Appeal Newspaper and many more publications. Smith has a new mission in life—teaching martial arts to more than 200 at low income kids and all age groups. Smith said, “I wake up now knowing somebody is counting on me.” Smith has been featured several times in our local media and in the most current version of the VISN 9 sponsored training video of Keeping the Promise.