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Chief Scott Smith honored with Birdies for the Brave’s Courage Award

Chief Scott 'Irish' Smith receives the Birdies for the Brave Courage Award from Ty Votaw (left), Executive Vice President of Global Business Affairs for the PGA TOUR, and Deputy Inspector General Leslie Smith (right).
(Photo by Ryan Young/PGA TOUR)

November 13, 2017

Machinist's Mate Petty Officer First Class Scott Smith is proof that home is where the heart is.  A native of Dublin, Ireland, Smith – “Irish” to everyone who knows him – followed his dream of becoming a U.S. citizen by making New York City his home in 2001 after graduating from high school.  Compelled by the tragic events of 9/11 to give back to the country that took him in, Irish joined the Navy – and his journey has been a study in courage that was recognized recently when Irish was awarded the Birdies for the Brave Courage Award by the PGA TOUR during a military appreciation event at TPC Sawgrass.

During a distinguished 15-year career in the Navy, Irish served in the 2nd, 5th, 6th and 7th Fleets, most recently serving at Navy Personal Command in Millington, TN, where he was the Enlisted E-6 Machinist Mate Detailer.  Throughout his military service, Irish has inspired his fellow service members with his devotion to his new homeland, extraordinary perseverance, tireless work ethic, and passion for helping others.  His unstoppable spirit and ability to overcome adversity with grit and determination are now being tested, as Irish battles stage four inoperable colon cancer, which has metastasized to his liver, lungs and brain.  Despite his illness, which was diagnosed two years ago, Irish continues to give back by mentoring and supporting other terminally ill Sailors with his infectious motto, “You Never Walk Alone.”

Irish has said, “I have been blessed to have served in the greatest Navy in the world and in the best commands with top-notch leaders who showed me the way forward.  I will never forget the ones who have stood by me and my family.”

For the past two years, Irish has been enrolled in Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor, the Navy’s sole organization for coordinating the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen, and providing resources and support to their families.  Through proactive leadership, the program provides individually-tailored assistance designed to optimize the success of the wounded warriors’ recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration activities.

"Scott serves as an extraordinary role model to us all with his positive attitude and spirit,” says Chet Frith, regional program director/Navy Region Southeast.  “He has provided inspiration to our program and staff, and offered invaluable insight that will help us improve upon the services we provide to our enrollees, caregivers and families."

Irish was introduced to the PGA TOUR’s Birdies for the Brave by Frith, and as he does with everyone he meets, made an indelible impression with his warmth and compassion for others. To give back to this extraordinary patriot, who remains on active duty, the PGA TOUR surprised him with a VIP experience during THE PLAYERS Championship, where Irish had the opportunity to meet one of his golfing idols, Irish golfer Padraig Harrington.

In recognition of Irish’s ongoing support for fellow Sailors and wounded heroes, his service to our country, and his amazing perseverance in the face of adversity, Irish was presented with the Birdies for the Brave Courage Award by Deputy Inspector General Leslie Smith – who called Irish one of the very best our military has to offer.

For more information about Birdies for the Brave, please visit www.birdiesforthebrave.org.  For more information about Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor, visit www.navywoundedwarrior.com.

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