By Annette P. Gomes Warrior Care and TransitionOctober 20, 2017
Retired Army Sgt. Joseph "Joey" Smith, the Soldier behind the official Wounded Warrior Creed adopted by the Marine Corps, has died.
Smith, 46 suffered a massive stroke in May and never fully recovered.
In 2005, during a deployment trip to Afghanistan, he suffered a spinal-cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down. While hospitalized, Smith penned the creed as a tribute to his fellow Soldiers after viewing their struggles while trying to recover. The Marine Corps later would adopt as its own "Creed of the Wounded Warrior."
Though I am wounded," he wrote, "I will always be a warrior. I will never give up, nor quit in the face of adversity. I will do my best in all that I do and achieve. I will not allow my injuries to limit me, and most of all, I will never forget my fallen comrades or leave a fellow injured warrior behind."
Smith, a career military man who also served in the Marines, practiced what he preached by competing in the Warrior Games, an annual, Olympic-style sports competition for wounded or ill military personnel and veterans. He won a gold medal in the air rifle competition, and competed in other sports such as swimming and archery.
Facebook post tributes poured in from across the country detailing love and support for Smith and his family.
"We will never forget Retired Army Sgt. Joseph "Joey" Smith. He left us with great memories, inspiration, and gratefulness for his service to our country. He also shared his wisdom and words that we will cherish eternally and will remain a constant reminder that is so critical and important for our nation to know," said Deputy Chief of Staff, Warrior Care and Transition, Col. Matthew St. Laurent as he reflected on Smith's legacy.
"Joey was a talented athlete. He excelled at shooting. He would encourage other teammates who were struggling with shooting. He also competed in swimming. He had a great sense of humor and was always quick to tell a joke and make people laugh. At times he had a rough exterior, but a gentle heart. He competed in the Warrior Games 2012 and 2013 in both shooting and swimming, earning at least 3 medals and assisting the Marines in collecting the Chairman's Cup both years," added Jenny Sullivan, Adaptive Reconditioning Program Manager with Warrior Care and Transition.
At press time, funeral plans were not yet complete. Family members state a celebration-of-life service will be held. Smith is expected to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.