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SFC Scott Smith Honored by PA House
May 8, 2014
HARRISBURG – Sgt. 1st Class Scott R. Smith, son of Robert and Shirl Smith of Punxsutawney, was posthumously honored by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives today for his dedication and courage in serving our nation at home and abroad.   The House unanimously approved legislation, House Bill 2068, sponsored by House Speaker Sam Smith, designating the newly constructed Big Run Bridge as the “SFC Scott R. Smith Memorial Bridge.”

SFC Smith, who was serving his fifth tour of duty in Iraq, died July 17, 2006, in Al Iskandariyah, Iraq, while he was attempting to defuse an improvised explosive device, known as an IED, when another IED exploded, mortally wounding him and ultimately taking his life.

SFC Smith grew up in Punxsutawney and was a 1990 graduate of Punxsutawney High School and the Jefferson County Vocational Technical School. He joined the United States Army in 1991 and was trained as a military policeman. 

“Responding to bomb threats piqued his interest in disarming explosives, so he volunteered for and completed explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) training at bases in Alabama, Florida and Maryland,” Speaker Smith noted today on the House floor. “SFC Smith soon transitioned from EOD Sergeant to EOD Team Leader and was assigned to the USA Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center in Picatinny, New Jersey. At this location he helped train bomb recognition and disposal to other soldiers and was involved in developing and testing robots designed to detect bombs.   In April 2006, he was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“Although I did not know Scott personally, I will never forget his funeral procession through downtown Punxsutawney on that warm day in July.   Pedestrians, motorists – the entire town just came to a complete stop in order to honor this young man’s life and sacrifice,” Speaker Smith recalled.

Speaker Smith noted that since his passing, numerous structures and events have been named in SFC Smith’s honor, including the Picatinny Arsenal building, where he was based for six years, and a bench in Barclay Square in Punxsutawney that was dedicated in his honor through the generosity of his father’s co-workers at Conway Freight. Many of SFC Smith’s comrades also travel to Punxsutawney each year for the Scott R. Smith Memorial Motorcycle Ride. The funds raised through the event give back to students in need.

SFC Smith’s parents, Robert and Shirl, were present on the House floor today to see the legislation naming the Big Run Bridge in honor of their son pass unanimously by the House. The Senate is expected to consider House Bill 2068 for final approval in the near future. 


Photo Caption: 

Following the passage of a bill designating the newly constructed Big Run Bridge as the "SFC Scott R. Smith Memorial Bridge," House Speaker Sam Smith (far left) presented the soldier's parents, Robert and Shirl Smith, with a copy of the legislation. 

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