O-H-P Trooper Smith Finally Home and 10-7

Wednesday, December 15th 1999, 12:00 am

By: News On 6

Pryor saw a homecoming Tuesday fit for a hero. O-H-P Trooper Steve Smith came back to Oklahoma after spending the past eight months in a Colorado hospital. He was shot in the neck while trying to stop a murder suspect from killing himself. The city of Pryor threw out the welcome mat in such a way that Smith will probably never forget it.

Smith has had a long journey home to Oklahoma. He is still recovering from a near fatal gunshot wound to his neck. While he has been away, he certainly has not been forgotten by hordes of family and friends. This was apparent by the number of friends that showed up to cheer as Smith wheeled himself off of a plane at Tulsa International Airport. "It has been a very long road, longer than we ever imagined,”said Smith’s wife Jeannette. “We'll just take it one day at a time. We'll get there." Smith says he’s glad to be home. "I'm doing really good,” he said. “The good Lord has been good to me."

The outpouring of love didn't end at the airport. Smith got a personal escort to Pryor from his O-H-P buddies. As he passed a county line or city limit, officers from that jurisdiction took over as the lead vehicles. The parade of support ended on 15th street in Pryor.

Nearly 200 people lined the street and fellow troopers saluted as Smith finally pulled into his own driveway. Smith still has use of one hand and can talk, but no one has given up hope of a full recovery. "For us, it's a good welcome home of a peacemaker, who has given much for friends and for strangers," said the chief of O-H-P Troop L. "He's put himself in harm's way and now is our hero. We pray God continues to heal you and bring you back into the full fold of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol."

Smith spent much of his time talking with children about staying out of trouble. The children had a special welcome for him and released dozens of balloons in his honor. Pryor’s mayor declared the day "Steve Smith Day" in the city and the high school band played for the crowd.

Troopers always say, no matter what else happens, they must go home at the end of their shift. For Smith, it was a shift that began on April 26th, but he finally made it home on December 14th. "He's home and he's going 10-7, which means he's out of service,” one O-H-P trooper told the crowd. “We're not saying out of service permanently, but that his shift has ended so, Trooper Smith, go over to that squad car and announce you're 10-7." Obediently, Smith wheeled himself over to the car and prepared to talk on the microphone to the O-H-P dispatcher.

Smith: “Troop L, this is 725.”

Dispatcher: “725, go ahead.”

Smith: “I'm 10-7 and I'll be 10-10.”

Dispatcher: “10-4. Welcome Home."

As he handed the microphone back to a fellow trooper, Smith received a warm round of applause from his friends and family.

Friends have remodeled Smith's home to accommodate his wheelchair. Two nurses came home with Smith to help with his rehabilitation. The mayor of Pryor also declared the nurses honorary citizens and gave them keys to the city.


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