Terry Smutney: Warrior for the Disabled Remembered

Terry Smutney of the Mammoth Lakes area suffered from a disability in his legs. In spite of that, his determined, bright spirit turned him into a leader for the disabled who needed a voice. Terry died on Monday.

Terry Smutney grew very close to those at Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra where he volunteered. Kathy Copeland of Disabled Sports shared an obituary that the team put together on Smutney. It goes like this:

Terry Smutney, long-time resident of McGee Creek and prominent volunteer and lover of the Eastern Sierra, passed away on Monday, March 23rd from lung cancer and other complications of Gulf War Syndrome. Terry was a good friend to many people in our community, and he will be sorely missed and fondly remembered.

Terry served as a medic in the Army for many years and in many battles. He was permanently affected by chemical exposure in Desert Storm. Though his body was broken, his enduring spirit persevered. Serving others was his primary occupation over these last years. He was a valued volunteer of Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra, the Sunrise Rotary Club and the Mobility Commission.

Terry was named Volunteer of the Year at Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra for his work as an adaptive ski and cycling instructor. He was the inspiration and founder of the Wounded Warrior Projects that have become famous in our community. His compassion for others who suffered from disabilities inspired many of them to go beyond their fears and experience the exhilaration of outdoor challenges the way he did. His work with Sunrise Rotary led him to serve on the Mobility commission, and he was a champion of making his beloved Sierra accessible to all.

He recently organized a project at convict Lake to make it a fully accessible fishing area. Terrys legacy will live on through his various charitable contributions and many close friendships that he fostered in this community. A memorial service is being planned for Saturday, April 11th at his home in McGee Creek at 5pm. Donations in Terrys name can be made to the Terry Smutney Memorial Fund at Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra. Disabledsportseasternsierra.org
Or call 934-0791.

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