Trooper ‘great example of commitment’

Published 8:28 pm Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Virginia State Police trooper and Chuckatuck native who died in the line of duty on Monday morning was dedicated to his family above all and a good friend to many, his pastor said on Tuesday.



Pastor Alvin A. Georges said Trooper Nathan-Michael W. Smith started attending Mount Lebanon Baptist Church in Newport News, known as “The Mount Peninsula,” when he was in the police academy.

“Nathan was just a great friend,” Georges said. “When you talked to him, you felt welcomed; you felt important; you felt his sincere friendliness. That’s the best way I can describe the kind of person he was.”

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Smith was responding to what he believed was a trooper in distress at a crash scene in Dinwiddie County when he crashed his patrol vehicle about 7:20 a.m. on the Interstate 295 south exit ramp to Interstate 95 north in Prince George County. He died later in the morning at VCU Medical Center, where he had been taken by helicopter.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Smith was responding to a call dispatched as CPR being performed on another trooper. In reality, the trooper was performing CPR on a crash victim, who also died at a hospital later in the morning.

Georges said Smith’s family — his wife and two children also attended Mount Lebanon — are holding up as best they can.

“They have plenty of family support and friends, so that helps, but it’s still a heaviness because of the loss that has happened,” Georges said. “He was just a great father to his kids. That was a priority for him — being there for his children, being there for his wife.”

Georges said Smith’s son is about 5 years old and his daughter is about 1.

“I really respected the man he modeled himself to be,” Georges said. “He was a great example of commitment and loyalty.”

Smith is a 2005 graduate of Nansemond River High School, where he played in the band, director Edward Woodis said.

“He was an awesome, good kid,” Woodis said Tuesday. “He was very talented.”

Smith initially played baritone and then switched to tuba. He later became a drum major.

“He was one of the ones that kind of stood out as a leader after a while,” Woodis said. “His leadership qualities started to surface.”

Woodis said Smith was “definitely one to make sure people followed the rules” as a drum major, perhaps a presentiment to his future career as a state trooper.

Woodis said Smith was planning to come to homecoming and participate in the alumni band being assembled.

“I was looking forward to seeing him,” Woodis said.

Contributions to help Smith’s family can be made to the Virginia State Police Association Emergency Relief Fund. Checks can be made payable to the VSPA-ERF with “Smith” in the memo line of the check. Mail checks to VSPA, 6944 Forest Hill Ave., Richmond, VA 23225.

Online contributions are also available through PayPal. Visit and click on Emergency Relief Fund. It is important to put “Smith” in the note section of your PayPal contribution.