While many of us think that hitting rock bottom is usually the result of an addiction that leads us down a path of destruction, Dr. Bobby Smith knows firsthand that rock bottom can come in many other ways. He deals with rock bottom every day as a counselor to police officers who experience trauma on the job. Bobby is perfect for this position because he has dealt with more trauma than most in his personal life and in his role as a Louisiana state trooper.
When he was in college, Bobby did a ride-along with some police buddies and decided he wanted to become a cop. A few high-speed chases was all it took. He changed his major to criminal justice and joined the Monroe Police Department soon after he graduated. His dream, though, was to become a state trooper. He wanted to be the best of the best, and eventually he achieved that dream.
Back then, life was good. Bobby was married to a beautiful woman, and he had a career he loved. He proudly put on his uniform every day, never thinking about the danger that comes with being a police officer. His job was to protect and serve, and that’s what he did. Like so many of us, he felt invincible. He didn’t believe anything bad could ever happen to him.
On March 14, 1986, Bobby learned the hard way that life is very fragile, that everything can change in an instant, and that nothing is ever guaranteed.
While working a highway interdiction in Winnsboro, Louisiana, Bobby and other officers from various police agencies conducted routine driver’s license checks. That evening, red and blue lights flashing along Highway 15 warned impaired drivers they were about to be in trouble. Bobby didn’t know that a man named Fred Anderson, Jr. had put five weapons on the passenger seat of his car before leaving his home that evening. A neighbor had asked him where he was going. “I’m going to kill a pig,” Anderson replied. The neighbor thought he was going hog hunting.
At 11:35 p.m., Anderson sped through the checkpoint, his license plate painted blue, his inspection sticker removed. Bobby jumped in his car and gave chase. Deputy Don McDuffy followed close behind. Bobby pulled Anderson over.
He didn’t wait for McDuffy to arrive. He got out of his car and walked toward Anderson’s vehicle.
Anderson stepped out of his car, shooting. He fired once, wounding Bobby in his hand.
Bobby drew his weapon and returned fire, hitting Anderson in the left femoral artery.
Anderson fired again. This time, the bullet ripped into Bobby’s face. He fell to the pavement.
McDuffy’s car screeched to a halt. Anderson was walking toward Bobby. McDuffy jumped out and shot Anderson six times.
Police from everywhere converged on the scene, and Bobby was rushed to the hospital. The gunshot wound left him permanently blind.
Three months later, his wife left him, and he lost his job serving the residents of Louisiana. There were times he contemplated suicide, but friends pulled him through the rough spots. He thought he had hit rock bottom, but tragedy would affect his life again and again.
Bobby, however, refused to give up.
Rock Bottom and Back™, which will be released August 2, 2016, features this courageous state trooper’s inspirational story of hope in its entirety. Bobby shows us that no matter how bad things get, we can make the choice to be happy, and we can use our experiences as a shining example for others.
Let’s keep our men in blue in our thoughts and prayers!
Buy Rock Bottom and Back™ online at www.rockbottomandback.com.
My best to you,
Susan Mustafa – Co-Author, Rock Bottom and Back