A true inspiration speaks in Jonesboro

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 man who survived a debilitating injury in Iraq continues to beat the odds.

"I received a direct hit from an rocket propelled grenade that went straight through the right side of my body," said Anthony Smith.

Pronounced dead after the attack, 17 minutes passed before soldiers discovered Anthony Smith was alive.  He was in a coma for 62 days and lost part of his right arm and his entire right hip.   After more than thirty surgeries, the retired army Major now uses his survival to help inspire others to never give up.

"No matter what you're going through, use it to your advantage and don't ever give up.  You may lose some battles, but the key is to win the war," said Smith.

"We can all benefit from this, people without disabilities included.  In order to make it through our lives we have to have that attitude," said Rachel Roland.

Smith said believing in himself was one of the best motivators he had.  Audience member Clayton Mitchell was diagnosed with leukemia and then paralyzed from the waist down as a teen, now ten years later he is walking again.

"He just reminds me a lot of stuff.  You've got to look forward.  You've got to put your faith in God because ultimately he is the one who gives you what you can get," said Clayton Mitchell.

Mitchell said he hopes that others will learn from smith's experiences.

You can't just have someone tell you that you can't do something and not do it," said Mitchell.

"Your life's not over after Iraq.  Your life's not over after a disability," said Smith.

"Hope.  No matter how bad your situation, is there's always hope," said Roland.

"They realize their problems may not be physical or big like that but they can take what he's been saying and put it to the use for them," said Mitchell.

Now smith uses his experience to help counsel other injured soldiers.  He is working on getting his PhD in counseling so he can counsel others.