Rekindling Friendships in West Virginia

Michael Smith

Air Force veteran Michael "Smitty" Smith serves as the State Field Operations Coordinator in West Virginia. Smitty brings a wealth of first response experience to his role, including firefighter/EMT, and is currently an employee with the US Fish and Wildlife Services.

Michael "Smitty" Smith (left) is currently serving as the Logistics Section Chief on Operation Country Roads.
Michael “Smitty” Smith (left) is currently serving as the Logistics Section Chief on Operation Country Roads.

I am always struck by the connections we make when responding to disasters with Team Rubicon, not only with our own members, but with those we serve. Friendships are established, networks expanded, and stories exchanged. Some hopefully will last a lifetime and help create a support network, which everyone needs in their life.

What I didn’t expect was to reconnect with a childhood friend, a very good friend, who I had lost contact with when his family moved away. The other evening I was standing outside of our Emergency Operations Center and was approached by a gentleman looking for information. He introduced himself as the local newspaper representative, Ray Corbin. I responded with my name and organization and launched into a short elevator speech about who we are when he interrupted me. “Are you Mike Smith from St. Mary’s?” It dawned on me that he was my childhood friend. We hugged and went into a lengthy catching up on our lives.

Smitty and
After many years apart, childhood buds Smitty and Ray unexpectedly reconnected in West Virginia.

It affirmed my belief, once again, just how special TR really is. Through all the sadness and destruction we are seeing, I hit the lottery by finding a dear, old friend. I can’t wait to see what else TR brings to my life. You’re an outstanding group to be a part of. Keep doing what we do – it’s working!

This is Smitty's fourth operation with Team Rubicon. Rumor has it he's sticking around for continued service.
Smitty’s deployed on four operations with Team Rubicon, including Op Three Forks in response to severe winter weather in Virginia in 2015.