Chats with the CEO: Russell Smith
Recently, CEO Titus Herman connected with Russell Smith, Army veteran and Southeastern Guide Dogs alumnus, via Zoom. Since 2017 when Russell graduated with his service dog, Mustang, the team has been inseparable. Listen in as Titus and Russell discuss life in quarantine and more.
Previously, Russell served for eight years and two deployments to Iraq, working in food service and selected for his trumpet-playing talents to play Taps for all-too-frequent memorials. The ongoing sound of IEDs and mortar attacks exploding nearby were constant reminders that not everyone who fought outside the gates of the base returned.
After the Army, an injury and the lingering effects of post-traumatic stress kept Russell isolated and hyper-alert. “I knew there was something missing in my life,” he says. “My anxiety attacks were getting more frequent and severe.” Now he’s found relief through the unconditional love of his service dog, Mustang.
To hear more of Russell’s story and to hear him play his trumpet, watch this video from our archives.