Army Ranger Cory Smith detours from Georgia-to-Indy trek to

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emilystehr
Army Ranger Cory Smith detours from Georgia-to-Indy trek to

http://www.indystar.com/article/20120203/NEWS11/202030336/Army-Ranger-Cory-Smith-detours-from-Georgia-Indy-trek-take-message-about-veterans-Super-Bowl-Village?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CIndyStar.com
Army Ranger Cory Smith detours from Georgia-to-Indy trek to take message about veterans to Super Bowl Village
On the miniature football field beneath the zip line in the Super Bowl Village, Army Ranger Cory Smith briefly captured the attention of the crowd Thursday, talking about transitions, not touchdowns.
"I'm trying to raise the awareness," Cpl. Smith, 28, said to those standing and seated around the artificial-grass-covered field. "People do not know about this."
What he's striving to bring to wider attention are the difficulties many military veterans face -- including homelessness, suicide and divorce -- when trying to make the transition from military service in wartime to civilian life.
A veteran of two deployments to Afghanistan, the Shelbyville High School and Indiana State University graduate arrived on the field in the Village at 5:30 p.m. To do so, he had to interrupt his 565-mile running and biking trek from Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga., to Indianapolis.
He was driven from Jeffersonville, just north of the Ohio River, to make his appearance in the Village in coordination with the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee.
Dressed in a red shirt and black running shorts, Smith said he will take a break today and return to Jeffersonville on Saturday to resume his trip north on U.S. 31 to Indianapolis, with a goal of reaching Monument Circle on Wednesday. With a noticeable limp, he said he has begun using a bike to finish his trek due to stress fractures from his right toe to his hip caused by his running.
The 28-year-old Smith recently launched his run to raise awareness and promote a nonprofit organization, GallantFew.org. "It's set up for veterans to help veterans," Smith said.
The website is designed to link veterans who have made successful transitions as mentors to those undergoing or preparing to undergo transitioning.
He was introduced to the crowd by Boone Cutler, 40, a wounded Army veteran of the Iraq War who flew from Nevada, where he is an on-air radio personality, specifically to introduce Smith. They got to know each other through their interest in GallantFew.
"I watched him on the news," said Southsider Sandra Hensley, 39, who explained that she'd seen a segment about Smith's run on TV. She was aware from the news that he would be Downtown on Thursday afternoon, she said, but didn't know where.
"I didn't realize I would see him," she said, while praising his efforts at generating support for veterans. "He's trying to raise awareness."
Among those gathered around Smith after his talk was Josh Devylder, a 29-year-old Indiana State University graduate from Avon, who said he had not seen Smith since they were in college together.
"I think it's amazing," he said of Smith's efforts on behalf of veterans. "He's one of the most outgoing people. When he finds a cause, he sticks with it."
Smith, who is on military leave, said his four years of Army service end Saturday.
He said that when he arrives on Monument Circle next week, he plans to make his home in the Indianapolis area. While he said he is experiencing marital difficulties, like many combat veterans, Smith said his new mission is to be with his 19-month-old daughter, Elleigh.
Star reporter William Booher at (317) 444-6302.

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