Larry Smith was born on November 2nd, 1954, the only child, to Ellison Smith and Lena Jackson, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

He attended Myrtle Beach High School, but because of the impecunious circumstances of his parents he was unable to attend college.

In 1971, at the early age of 17, he entered the workforce and was employed at the Caravellle Motel in Myrtle Beach, where his culinary skills were soon recognized as a result of which he was appointed  to the position of Cook.

After the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, with spectre of war still looming over countries in Southeast Asia, the US retained its military presence in the area and from 1976 Larry did service in the US Marine Corps in Japan, South Korea and the Phillippines, during which he suffered a spinal cord injury and retired in 1984.

Larry returned to his original job at the Caravelle Motel, but relocated to Florida in 2002  for treatment at the VA Hospital in Florida when he discovered that his injury had resulted in paraplegia. He told me his left leg had to be amputated because it was gangrenous.

Larry is one of over 3.5 million US veterans who has suffered a service connected disability and I met him while coaching the group of veterans who are attending golf clinics at Melreese Country Club in a Program in which the VA partners with the PGA to support the PGA HOPE Military Golf Program, a program for veterans with Disability.

From our very first meeting, Larry and I struck a mutual bond and as I work with him while he learns and improves his golf skills, it has been both humbling and rewarding for me to observe the commitment he exhibits, his disability notwithstanding, as is demonstrated in our photos.

Larry is a very jovial individual. He spoke admiringly of his son and daughter and in amorous terms of his Puerto Rican girlfriend. We joked. We laughed. He is overflowing with humor despite his disability.

I have dedicated myself to continue working with Larry and to join him on the golf course when the opportunity allows him and myself to do so.

Larry is an inspiration. He is my hero.

Mike Simmons
Golf Teaching Professional
Melreese Country Club

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