SPC Elliott Smith

Pensacola, FL


Elliott Smith was just out of high school when the 9/11 attacks happened. He thought of his grandfathers who served in World War II and Korea; he realized he was meant to do the same. He joined the Army as an Infantryman, and went on his first deployment to Iraq in December 2004.

On May 8, 2005, Army Specialist Smith was manning a checkpoint with the 155th Brigade Combat Team and 1st Cavalry Division, in An Najaf, Iraq, when he was pinned against a wall by an M1 Abrams battle tank, resulting in the loss of his right leg.

Once transferred back to the United States, Elliott quickly began physical therapy at Walter Reed Medical Center. After eight months of hard work, Elliott reached his goal of walking on a prosthetic without a cane.

In the years following his injury, Elliott battled PTSD and addiction. After reaching his lowest point and getting into a car accident, he realized that the only way for him to recover was to give back. He immersed himself in getting involved in several nonprofits. He currently volunteers with POE in Action, an organization that offers assistance to homeless Veterans; Amputee Blade Runners, a nonprofit that provides free running prosthetics for amputees; and Ahero, a group that connects Veterans through many different activities. Elliott also hopes to help others in his professional life. He earned a degree in exercise science from the University of West Florida and is currently working toward a master’s degree in orthotics and prosthetics, with the goal to help other amputees, specifically children. An aspiring writer, Elliott is working on a book about the Veterans he met while recovering at Walter Reed. “I want to put stories out there that haven’t been told; the stories of those men and women whose lives have been changed forever,” he says.

Because of his busy schedule, Elliott believes a specially adapted custom Homes For Our Troops home will be beneficial. The special adaptations will alleviate much of the daily stress Elliott experiences. In his current home, there are several steps leading up to the front door making it difficult to walk on his prosthetic and use his wheelchair. A single-level HFOT home with automatic doors will mitigate this issue. He is also looking forward to having a roll-in shower, as he does not feel safe using the grab bars he has in his current bathroom.

Originally from Mississippi, Elliott is choosing to build his home in Western Florida in order to stay connected with the support network he has built there.

Elliott is incredibly grateful to HFOT’s donors and supporters who will make his specially adapted custom home a reality. “Just by helping these Veterans out you may turn someone’s life around and give them the potential they need,” he says.

related articles:

  • NBC 15, July 25, 2020 A Pensacola Army veteran is getting a fresh start as a non-profit organization breaks ground on a specifically adapted custom home for the Soldier. Read more.
  • MSN.com, July 25, 2020 Elliott Smith was just out of high school when the 9/11 attacks happened. He thought of his grandfathers who served in World War II and Korea; he realized he was meant to do the same. Read more.
  • Pensacola News Journal, July 24, 2020 When retired U.S. Army Spc. Elliot Smith turns on his computer Saturday to watch the Homes For Our Troops virtual groundbreaking of his new Pensacola home, he expects to officially turn the page on yet another painful chapter of his life. Read more.
  • WUMF 88.1, July 24, 2020 Like nearly every nonprofit, the Massachusetts-based Homes for our Troops (HFOT) has faced challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. Read more.