MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
Semper Fidelis is a term that Marines live and die by. They are always faithful to each other, the corps and their country, even if they are veterans from wars that teenagers learn about through history books or if they are trekking through the sands of war-torn countries in the present.
Veterans, military members currently serving and civilians alike rode into El Cajon, Calif. on steel horses to gather at El Cajon Harley Davidson where there was a fundraiser for Gunnery Sgt. David Smith and his family, Aug. 6.
Smith was struck by a drunk driver while stopped at a red light on his motorcycle the evening of July 31. He was critically injured and rushed to the Palomar hospital where he was in the intensive care unit. He was in a serious but stable condition and expected to make a full recovery.
“I wish I could have been the one to follow that driver home,” said Nathaniel Reep, El Cajon, Calif. “I would have had a few choice words for her and I could have seen justice in action.”
El Cajon Harley Davidson blocked off sections of the road for motorcyclists to park their bikes. They had a disc jockey playing music, free lunch and a band. When attendees went into the store they had the opportunity to sign a book and t-shirt with their own personal message and to donate money in a jug to Smith and his family.
“This benefit was a good idea,” said Gunnery Sgt. Johnathan Cooper, S-3 chief, Headquarters Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion. “It shows that the community and the Marine Corps family can come together in a time of need.”
The driver who struck Smith was reported to have a blood alcohol level that was over three times the legal limit.
“Sometimes we don’t learn from these things until it comes close to home,” said George Mangual, director, substance abuse counseling center. “Those who are closest to him are affected.”