Robert Smith

LovePrints. When you grow up with your hero.

Great families make great people. Great people make great families. I have no shame in celebrating the good people in the world. It is easy to give compliments when they are the truth. When those people are constant and consistent, they deserve their story to be told. When they grow up in the same house, it makes it all that much more special.

My older brother (he smiles when I remind him that he will always be older) claimed the hero spot in my life at an early age. I watched him play football and run track as a young man, and then got to wait anxiously at home for him to return with his stories of the country. He introduced me to different ways to train, eat, pray, and win. He was everything that I wanted to be, and he shared the path. He was generous in sharing the importance of faith and education, integrity and character. And, I was in awe of how much awe he inspired in others.

I do not know who your heroes are, but I can tell you that I was blessed with a brother who was worthy of the title, and the responsibility. I carried the moniker "Little Bob" until I was old enough to make my own name matter. I appreciate having such a high standard to live up to, and with.

Well done, old man. Well done.

Getting to know: Robert E. Smith with Child Shield

Title: Executive with the local franchise of Child Shield USA, a company that offers family-focused services designed to keep children safe

Born: 1955, grew up in Arlington County

Education: Bachelor of arts in political science communications, 1977, David Lipscomb College in Nashville. (“I ran track for three years while in college and was named first team or second team All-American each year. At the end of my freshman year, I was invited to try out for the U.S. Olympic Team.”)

Career: Retired in 2010 from Philip Morris USA/Altria Group after 30 years. Positions held include warehouse supervisor, group supervisor in the warehouse, HIPAA privacy administrator and manager in the medical department.

In which part of the metro area do you live: Henrico County

Best business decision: “To always do that which is right, to treat others the way I want to be treated, and to put others first before self. I also learned that it is always best to be completely honest. That way, people know that you always tell the truth, which means they know they can believe what you have told them. Credibility is very important.”

Mistake you learned the most from: “When I was young, while running a race I was so far ahead of my competitors that I looked back to see where they were. Well, I fell and ended up rolling across the finish line. I did not win the race. I came in third place. I learned, don’t focus on what is behind you, keep your eyes on the goal, which is before you.

First job after college: “I sold life insurance.”

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently: “Work harder and smarter in elementary, middle and high school. The more you learn early in life helps you to be able to learn even more as you progress through life, and that applies to school, college, the work world and everyday life.”

Book that inspired you the most: “The book that has inspired me the most is ‘The Bible.’ God, who is our creator, has told us everything we need to know to be happy in this life and happy forever.

Favorite/least favorite subject in school: “Geometry, because I knew that I personally would never use it. My favorite subject in college was history, because I learned about the past and learned from the past.”


LovePrints Robert Smith-A life of LovePrints

Loveprints should begin at home, and in my case, it was wearing a huge smile and running shoes. Robert Smith was larger than life to me, in his ability to bring the world into our house, and to hold our hand while leading us into the world. I remember watching him refuse to have his Black Knights football jersey cut off when they tried to treat the broken collarbone he injured in a game. I thought, THAT is awesome! I remember seeing him with free weights in the back yard, and asking why it made him faster. (It made him STRONGER, which made him faster). I recognized early that he was a student, AND an athlete, and that the two should be working together. And, he made being moved in service cool. I wanted to know more about Christ, service, and purpose. He would travel to races and come home with t shirts from wherever he went. I began to search those places out and wonder if I would ever go there. What would it take to walk in his footsteps? What has he seen and done while he was there? What will it take for me to do the things that he has done? He was photographed, interviewed, and followed. And yes, he was popular.

He was an amazing athlete. Olympic Trials in sprinting, College All American. Program changer. He went on to become a community leader, a husband, father, and favorite son. He is a leader of spirits, a calming presence, and the glue that keeps his family and others together. He simply is love walking, talking, and in action.

What he did was show me the road out of our neighborhood. He showed me how academics were important, and he showed me that I could see the world because he had. He made me dream of bigger things, be curious about life, and to be decent while pursuing those things. He taught me to be a better brother, son, and man. His LovePrints are all over me and mine. I had to share him with you all. He is too amazing to keep to myself. I hope that you had a hero in your house. I sure am thankful for him. Love in action. Action in love.