Florida School Dedicated In Honor of Medal of Honor Recipient SFC Paul R. Smith
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

TAMPA, Fla. -- "Medal of Honor winners don't do it for the medal - they do it for the mission," said Brig. Gen. Mark S. Bowman, director of command, control, communications, and computer systems, headquarters U.S. Central Command, at the dedication of the new Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith Middle School, in Tampa, Fla.

Smith was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2005 for his actions during the fight to secure the Baghdad International Airport on April 4, 2003.

Speaking to a crowd of nearly 100 people in the school cafeteria, Bowman was joined by Birgit Smith, Smith's widow, and several noncommissioned officers from the 3rd Infantry Division for the dedication of newest middle school in Hillsborough County.

"He was just an ordinary guy, but with purpose," Bowman said of Smith. "He was a man who stood for purposeful training."

Bowman encouraged the staff and faculty of the middle school to educate students with purpose, as Smith trained his Soldiers.

The dedication ceremony began with a selection by the school's orchestra, and a statement from the school's teacher of the year. The chairman of the school board also spoke at the dedication.

"It's very important; I know for sure his name will live on forever," said Birgit Smith, who was accompanied by their son and several other members of the Smith Family. "I hope (the students) live like him - be brave, go on with life and be there for each other."

Birgit continued, saying the event was bittersweet for her and her Family, but she expressed joy at her husband being honored.

Following the ceremony, Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews, 3 ID command sergeant major, and Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Campbell, 2-3 Brigade Troops Battalion command sergeant major, presented the school's principle, Kathleen Flanagan, a plaque in memory of Smith on behalf of the 3rd Infantry Division.

Smith Middle School has an enrollment of just over 1,000 students, ranging from sixth to eighth grade.

Smith's home of record was Tampa, and he was a product the Hillsborough County school system.

This is the second Tampa-area school to be named in honor of Smith. The first, also a middle school, was dedicated in his honor in Holiday, Fla., in 2006.

Smith was a member of Company B, 11th Engineer Battalion, 3 ID. He was also a veteran of Desert Storm. He is survived by his wife, his son David, and stepdaughter Jessica.