Funeral services were held Saturday for Virginia State Police Trooper Nathan-Michael W. Smith, a Suffolk native who died in a crash last week while responding to a call he believed was another trooper in distress.
Smith, a 2005 graduate of Nansemond River High School, was remembered and honored by about 1,200 in attendance at St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Henrico, State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said. Troopers from 18 different states, including Arizona, Pennsylvania and Maryland, were in attendance, as well as countless sheriff’s deputies, police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and others.
All 43 troopers that graduated with Smith just 16 months ago from the 121st Basic Session were also in attendance, Geller said.
The motto of that class was “Valor in Blue; Service in Gray; Pride in Duty Every Day,” State Police Col. W. Steven Flaherty, the state police superintendent, said during his remarks for the service.
“Nathan-Michael may have only been with state police a short time, but he’s made lasting impressions,” Flaherty said.
He recounted an encounter a North Carolina woman had with Trooper Smith just four days prior to his death.
She was traveling up I-295 towards Hopewell when she became disoriented and decided for her safety to pull off on the shoulder, Flaherty said. Minutes later, Smith pulled in behind her and stayed with her until she felt safe to continue on her way.
“In that short time, he was a hero to me,” the woman told her husband after she saw news of Smith’s death on the radio. She posted about the encounter on the state police Facebook page.
“For him, it was probably just another way of his doing his job to serve and protect,” Flaherty said. “For her, it was an act of heroism.”
Flaherty continued, “He may have been committed to his career as a trooper, but it was devotion to his family that truly defined him and his character. I’m told he would light up with pride whenever he got the chance to talk about ‘Deuce’ and Zoe, and their latest milestones and adventures. And, there was no mistaking his admiration and affection for you, Jenn,” Flaherty said, referring to the Smith’s two children and his wife.
“As we mourn the loss of Unit 1844, a man who gave so very much even during his short time of service as a trooper, let us take comfort in knowing his integrity, honor, and compassion will carry on in the lives of all those he touched,” Flaherty said.
Article taken from The Suffolk News-Herald – http://www.suffolknewsherald.com
URL to article: http://www.suffolknewsherald.com/2015/09/28/fallen-trooper-laid-to-rest/