Last night at the Black Box Theater, Wayne Smith ‘68 spoke to the community about his experience at St. Andrew’s, in the Vietnam War, and through his adulthood as a veterans advocate.
Smith, who grew up in Providence, said St. Andrew’s was “a place of comfort” for him. Mentioning his wonderful classmates and teachers, Smith began attending St. Andrew’s in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement and shortly after the United States entered Vietnam in 1965.
At the end of 1967, Smith decided to leave St. Andrew’s to serve in Vietnam as a medical war combat. His experience in Vietnam led him to an extensive career as an advocate for war veterans after he had returned.
Smith has continued working to ensure care and support for veterans. He has helped raise more than $2 million for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. He also returned to Vietnam with 20 veterans in 1998 to promote peace and reconciliation. He is one of the veterans featured in the Emmy Award winning documentary about the experience, Vietnam Long Time Coming.
Smith is now on the board of directors of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He is currently fighting for better leadership at the VA. On the same day that he presented to the St. Andrew’s community, Smith was included in a CNN article about the turmoil facing the Department of Veterans Affairs.