Saturday, January 2, 2010

Reed Smith: One Tough Hombre!

by Pa Rock
Determined Uncle

My nephew, Reed Smith, is holding steady at Northwestern Hospital in Amarillo, Texas. Reed is in the second day of a medically induced coma and on a ventilator. He should begin the process of awakening in a couple of days.

Reed was critically injured in a bad car wreck outside of Perryton, Texas, on New Year's Eve. His father, Robert Edward (Bob) Smith, the driver of the car, was killed instantly in that wreck, as was Bob's cousin, Bobby Jack Short. Reed's girlfriend, Jamie Carey, was also a passenger in the car. Jamie managed to survive the accident with only minor injuries. She has been at Reed's bedside since being released from the hospital at Perryton yesterday.

Reed and Jamie live in Las Vegas, Nevada. They had been in Noel several days for the funeral of my father and Reed's grandfather, Garland Macy. Bob and Bobby Jack were driving them back to Las Vegas at the time of the accident.

Gail and I raised our families at approximately the same time, and we neither one had much in the way of spare time to focus on each other's kids. We also never lived very near to one another. By the time I reached a point where I did have some time to spare, Reed was the only one left at home - and he became my little buddy. We went to movies together, and he spent some time working on my farm. I remember one day when he was in high school and we were doing cement work down the hillside by the pond. The process involved moving some eighty-pound sacks of cement down the hill. I strained and grunted to lift one up onto my shoulder and headed off. When I got to the pond, I turned around to check on Reed, and he was right behind me with a sack of cement on each shoulder! He only did it once, though!

When Reed graduated from high school in Prairie Grove, my dad was unable to attend - it was an evening ceremony and he seldom went any place after dark - and he may have been ill. I took his graduation card to Reed, a card that also contained a check for $500. When I handed it to Reed, I told him, "Your Granddad said to spend all of that on beer." He took a look at the check, grinned, and said, "That could be done!"

Gail and I met in Las Vegas last February to visit Reed. It was while we were there that we met Jamie Carey, who was his new girlfriend at the time. We were impressed then, and the longer that we have known her the more impressed we are. Jamie's parents and their spouses and her brother and sister are all at the hospital with us. They are a great bunch of folks!

Reed is a life-long athlete and very physically fit. He also has a strong competitive spirit. Jamie told me that his flag football team in Las Vegas was undefeated this year and won their championship. She added, "There wasn't much 'flag' about it!" That sounds like Reed!

Bob Smith and my sister Gail were the parents of four of the best young people that anyone could ever hope to meet or emulate. They are, in order of birth, Heidi Pfetcher, Tiffany Burke, Justin Smith, and Reed. All are here in Amarillo supporting each other and their mother as we wait and worry over Reed.

Bob and Gail divorced several years ago after three decades of marriage. They remained friends - in fact, one of their kids told me that they were probably better friends after the divorce than they had been before. Gail and I had dinner together on New Year's Eve - before the accident - and talked about her relationship with Bob and his dedication to their children. She said that any time one of the children needed money, Bob was there, and that he had even given her money after the divorce when he knew that she was in need.

I always considered Bob Smith to be a good friend. He sat with the family at my dad's funeral, and was at our house in Noel much of that week. He was constantly accompanied by his French bulldog, Boom, a faithful companion who never left Bob's side. Sadly, Boom was also killed in the wreck. Bob and I had a nice visit Wednesday evening after Dad's funeral and burial. He knew that Gail and I had inherited some money from our father, and he told me, quite sincerely, that he was so glad that Gail would finally be able to quit working so much overtime.

Bob's mother, Lucy Smith, passed away last summer after a long illness. He stayed with his mother and took care of her while she was ailing. Lucy was an institution of legendary proportions in Southwest City, Missouri, having worked at the Cornerstone Bank for over half a century. The Smith's were a founding family of that small community.

Bobby Jack Short, Bob's cousin who also died in the wreck, was a resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was the younger brother of Dan Short, the President of the State Bank of Noel who was murdered by the Agofsky brothers after they robbed the bank nearly twenty years ago.

Reed does not yet know that his father died in the wreck.

We mourn the passing of Bob Smith and Bobby Jack Short, but our grief over their passing is being held in check right now as we continue to hover around Reed with hope and prayer for his complete recovery. Reed is a tough, really tough guy, and he will make it! Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.


Brenda Kilby said...

Rocky, thanks for the update. Please keep me informed. Are you coming back to Noel now?

Melissa Ezell Thomas said...

Rocky, thank you for keeping everyone "back home" in Arkansas updated. Reed's always been a fighter, and his strong spirit will help him through this tragedy. God be with you all and remember that more people than you will ever know are lifting you up in thoughts and prayers.

Abbie said...

Reed is determined and strong. Faithful and petulant in the eyes of fear. He will pull through. It's like I've told friends through the day... He is the only person I know to truly be able to own having might mouse on his ass. Every moment with Reed and Bob I closely cherish. My heart is with your family.

Brenda said...

Dear Rocky and Gail,

So sorry for your great loss in such a short time.

Our prayers are with you and Reed. We pray that God will give you all the strength to stay strong and trust in Him. As God's promise says that He will never give us more than we can bear. Although there are times we wonder how strong He really thinks we are.

May God watch over you and yours.

Your friends,
Doug and Brenda Morriss

Barbara Edmiston said...

Thank you for the update on Reed. Please continue to keep us posted. I know that your entire family has had a very emotional few weeks. Please know that you are all in our prayers. Barbara and Coach Ed (Reed's high school basketball coach in P.G.)

GHilton said...

Thank you so much for these updates. I was Reed's meat judging coach at OSU. Reed is a wonderful young man. We are all pulling for him and praying for him and the family.

Please keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this blog. Jamie Carey is my husband's cousin and goddaughter. She is very dear to me and our children, Taylor and Quinn. One of her 1st stops when she comes to Butte is to see her little buddies. They adore her and we are grateful she is ok. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of Reed's family. This is devastating for both families and we are all here to help each other through this difficult time. Reed and Jamie were in Montana last summer, unfortunately, we were gone but told them to "house sit" for us. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Reed. I look at photos of Jamie and Reed and I see how he makes her happy. She is a great gal who found a great guy. I look forward to meeting Reed in person. In the meantime, everyone involved in this tragedy has a lot of love, support and prayers from Jamie's family in Montana.

In our thoughts and prayers always, Kara Carey and family, Butte, Montana

Meagan said...

Reed and I grew up across the street from eachother and has been one of my best freinds ever since. Bob and Gail were a huge part of my childhood. I know Reed is strong and will pull through this. My heart breaks over Bob and my prayers are with the family at this time.

Suzette said...

I am so sorry for your loss! I am praying for your entire family and specifically for Reed! He will pull thru this!
I was a grade ahead of Reed in HS at PG! He is a great guy! God Bless!

Brad said...

All of us in OSU Meat Science Program were shocked as well as saddened when we got the news. We are praying for Reed' recovery and his family's strength during this trying time. Additionally, Jamey, we are so thankful for your safety. It was a miracle. We love you all very much and if there is anything we can do, please call us immediately. Will be checking in daily and praying more often. Dr. Brad Morgan

Kenny Dow said...

Hang in there Reed! I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Jamie, stay strong and let me know if you need anything. Love ya bud! God Bless!


rubycorolla said...

You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I know that you are very proud of Reed, as you have mentioned him often and that you will be there for him in the difficult days ahead.

Pat Tyler

Shannon Cooney said...

Thank you for the update. Jamie and Stacy are very close friends of my brother and I. Reed is in our thoughts and prayers on a full recovery. Jamie's family is great and will be very supportive. If there is anything we can do please let us know.
Cooneys from MT.

Marcie Hartman said...

You are in my prayers Reed. You are stong and I know you will make it through this for your family and Jamie. Keep fighting hard!!!

PaulV said...

I am sorry to hear of your painful sudden loss. I empathize with your world being turned upside down overnight, and that as I read your blog on your Nephew's struggle to live, how much you have reflected on the losses already incurred and praying for no more. I ask that you take comfort, in the ones around you, the ones that moved on, give them the release of prayer and gratitude for having them in your life. If there is anything I can do, you know I would be glad to help. I will say a prayer for Reed, and hope you don't lose another life so hurtfully. It was a good prayer Rocky. I hope HE heard.
Best wishes, Paul Clarksville, TN.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am a friend of Reeds from OSU and working at the YMCA with him. Could you please post the address of the Hospital so I can send him a card? Thank you for this information and I am praying for you and your family.

Carla D.