Doug Smith is a Marine, principal and recently, a dancer
He’s served as a U.S. Marines platoon sergeant in Iraq, and a principal at Crestview Elementary School. He was recently named as the new principal of Oak Ridge Elementary School.
And just recently, he added the cha cha to his list of achievements.
Doug Smith was scheduled to be one of the featured dancers in the Make A Wish Foundation’s Waltzing for Wishes Gala, but had to pull out of the competition in December because of back pain due to a surgery he had over the summer. But he said he hopes to compete next year, while hoping that the dance will not be the cha cha.
“From September to halfway through December, I practiced four hours a week,” said Smith. “About three weeks ago, my doctor was like, you either stop dancing, or stop coming to see me.”
Smith said dancing in Waltzing for Wishes was important to him because he has known four kids in the Frenship area who have had their wishes granted.
This year, Crestview students and staff raised almost $1,400 in two weeks for the Make A Wish Foundation. Students paid $1 to wear a hat during the time period, while teachers paid $5 to wear jeans.
“It touches the life of a child and family in a difficult time in their life,” said Smith.
He said one thing that has amazed him is the resilience of the children who are battling what could be terminal diseases.
Smith said he expects to start the Make A Wish fundraiser at Oak Ridge next fall.
“Next year, since I’ll be going to Oak Ridge, Crestview and Oak Ridge will be involved,” he said.
The principal said he has never really danced before, but added dance lessons with his wife, Katrina, once he started learning last fall.
“The first several times I came in, I was shaking I was so nervous,” said Smith.
Although he may not have got down on a dance floor before, Smith said he was always involved in sports as a student in Snyder. But he was also in drama, he said, and both athleticism and dealing with a crowd is handy for dancing, he said.
When he agreed to take part in the Wishes Gala, he said he thought it would be good exercise.
“And, wow! I was sore,” he said.
Smith served as a platoon sergeant in the Iraqi war in 2003, when he worked to recover vehicles that had broken down or been hit.
“We laughed about it and said we were the wrecker service for the war,” he said, but he said it was a lot more dangerous than a U.S. tow job. “You get so used to doing it, you don’t think about it (the danger), you just do it.”
He said he has an Iraqi flag that was left on one vehicle that had been hit. The Iraqis would often leave flags on vehicles they had hit, he said.
The hardest and best thing about being in war is the relationships, Smith said. While it was difficult to be separated from his family, it was also hard to leave his fellow soldiers. Since he left, he has gone to three funerals.
“You feel like, if you can be there, you can help them,” he said. But he said he took comfort in knowing that other Marines are capable.
Children: Kirsten, 14, Reagan, 12, and Luke, 7.
Activities: Hunting, fishing, playing with pets and helping with Monterey Church of Christ’s Children’s Church.
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