A servant’s heart: Smith ‘a wonderful example of helping the less fortunate’

Published 4:35 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The death of the physical therapist who treated local high school athletes and helped underprivileged children for more than four decades has many in the community reflecting on the life of “one of the kindest men” ever known.

Dr. Danny Smith died Monday from complications due to cancer.

For 40 years, he was a fixture on the sidelines of Elizabethton High School football and basketball games, treating three generations of players.

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He once estimated he provided more than $4 million worth of medical care to the athletes over the years, stressing “How well we take care of them in the first 30 seconds to one minute up to the first hour will have an effect on how quickly they will come back to the game.”

“I think one of Danny Smith’s greatest characteristics is that he was a really good servant-leader in our community,” said the Rev. Michael Koruschak. “He was a wonderful example of helping the less fortunate. He has been very much involved in the Elizabethton-Carter County Boys and Girls Club for so many years.”

Koruschak said Smith “never turned anyone away. He has helped so many athletes in our town over the years and been a good friend. He has taught all over the world his profession and I believe that Danny reached the top of his profession by all the hard work that he did.”

The men both battled cancer. “We cared and prayed for each other,” Koruschak said. “I am not sure that we are creating people like that any longer. He was a dear friend to me.”

District 1 Commissioner Dr. Robert Acuff served on the Boys and Girls Club board with Smith and echoed Koruschak’s remarks.

“I think Danny was one of the kindest men I have ever known,” Acuff said. “The first time that I ever met him was years ago at a Boys and Girls Club board retreat, and Danny and I played an icebreaker game where you asked each other something and one of those questions was who was your hero and he looked at me and said, ‘Bob, my hero was my dad,’ and he was that way at the club.

“I think his intention of telling me that his dad was who he admired the most was that he realized that not every child, teen or young adult had a dad and he tried to be that father figure. He was always looked up to, always admired, and always ready to jump in.”

Acuff said Smith was “a kind gentleman, ready to help and do in his community.”

“We are all going to miss his humble leadership. He was just the epitome of a servant leader. He just was. That was the way that the good Lord made him,” Acuff said. “We all want to emulate him. I don’t think people realize what an impact that he has had on this region. He loved this community and I hope we did a good job of loving him back.”

Funeral arrangements have not been released. Please check back to this article for more information.