Whether he was helping with the baseball fields, coaching teams or simply helping a friend with his car on a cold winter night, Sammy Smith gave his all. Coaching was one of his favorite things to do. His resume included coaching 8U Baseball, 10U Baseball, 14U baseball, 1st Grade Baseball, PeeWee baseball and PeeWee Football. He wanted the kids to love the games as much as he, and was successful at seeing they did. When he wasn’t coaching, he would take on the task of umpire. IMPACT. So many strive to make one, for some it just comes as natural as gliding across a field of fresh cut grass diving to catch a ball. The day of Sammy’s “goodbye”, the line of cars following the limousine stretched from one side of the small town of Chico to the other. Friends of Sammy smiled, knowing how he would have got a kick out of that. One of his favorite sayings was “Ya gotta put the fans in the stands”. On that day, he did just that. So much so that this weekend, September 3rd, they are dedicating a field at Jewel Park in his name. The day will be special, with several events planned, including a baseball tournament. There will be fans in the stands, for certain.
In addition to the host of friends and loved ones he left behind, Sammy left 2 young children. The center of the world to Sammy. Talon, age 7 and Taegan, who is 5. The days since he left have been filled with so many emotions, but those who knew Sammy will make sure that his precious children will know how special he was and, more than that, how special THEY were to Sammy. His good friend, Ty McDaniel says “He had a way. He made everyone feel special”. Impact. The proceeds from the event(s) on Saturday will go to help Sammy’s children.
Impact. In a poignant selfless act (and the last thing that he did for someone else) yet perhaps the biggest IMPACT that he left was truly life changing. Sammy gave himself, through organ donation, to help others live. The last selfless act has already saved 3 others, with possibly more to come. John Peter Smith Hospital flew a flag in his honor, not just once but twice, for 24 hours. Even in his passing, he made an impact. Not for the glory, but because he knew it was the right thing to do. To the small community of Chico, perhaps the word that describes this friend to all is simple. Hero. Sammy might not have considered himself one, but you can bet the people he impacted always will.
If you’d like to help, please see the flyer following this story.
Photos were respectfully and graciously borrowed from Sammy’s Facebook page (with permission).