Tom Smith- Following His Father’s Footsteps

Building the Gold Shield Legacy : Following in his father's footsteps, Tom Smith, a retired officer inducted into the National Law Enforcement Hall of Fame, continues to shine a light on the noble profession through the Gold Shields Show, alongside his colleague Dan Murphy

Admiring a hero to becoming a Hero, Following in his Fathers Footsteps

The price that must be paid to be a law-enforcement officer was well within his budget.

When a parent advises their child on a career path, there are several different directions and headings that this road may be traveled.  The first would be to steer their child far away from a dangerous or toxic environment, so that they may not have to suffer in the same ways as the parent who came before them. The second is to remain completely hands off and allow room for the child to find their own way in this world. Seldomly, parents may push their offspring into the family business, trying to give them the same joys that they experienced throughout a fruitful career.  Often, no matter how much the wheel is attempted to be commandeered, a magnetic force is at work that  draws that child closer and closer to the same career path that their parents chose.

Tom Smith is a product of the Washington Heights area of Manhattan, but spent the majority of his childhood in Rockland County New York. Each day he would see his father get dressed for work to go out and make the city of New York a better and safer place.  Few people get to see their hero up close and personal, Tom got to wake up every day and see his. Going so far as the procurement of his father’s gold, detective shield, running around the house, pretending to be a New York City Police detective. 

There is something about when your child has aspirations to do the profession that you find so much passion within.  Much like the opening scene in Goodfellas, where Henry Hill remenices “as far back as I remember I always wanted to be a gangster”, Tom Smith always wanted to be a New York City police detective. 

There was a quote that was once uttered about “want” that always seemed to resonate. Rudyard Kipling wrote “If you don’t get what you want, it’s a sign either that you did not seriously want it, or that you tried to bargain over the price”.  The last part of that is the most important and strongest detail, are you willing to pay the price?  Tom had a unique experience and understanding of the price involved inside a life of law-enforcement. The long hours, the stress on your family, and of course, the daily dangers he saw.  His father was willing to pay these prices every single day, and was confident that it wasn’t more than he can afford.

Tom worked hard to maintain his mental and physical strength so that when his application was finally accepted into the New York City police Academy, without hesitation, without reservation, he willingly accepted to begin his path to be like his hero. Once inside the Police world, it was everything that he believed it would be. Serving with honor just as his father did before him, Tom took to the streets and can legitimately say he did his job with the same vigor as that small child running around with his father‘s gold shield.  Talent and enthusiasm do not go unnoticed, and soon Tom was picked up for special details, including the anti-crime unit and the coveted joint terrorism task force better known as the JTTF

After 9/11 in the city that got hit the hardest by the terrorist attacks, Tom had his hands full, trying his best and doing everything within his power to assure that this did not happen again. At home, Tom ‘s family became his rock. The spouse of a police officer is a special breed of person. They have to be supportive and understanding of both the dangers and stresses that their significant other deals with every day. Allowing open communication, so that the weight and burden of the daily horrors do not bury the police officer under an unbearable pressure.

New York City news is blasted out for the entire world to see frequently throughout the day. When disaster strikes, the nervousness will hit the spouses who are craving for information. On one occasion, a police officer got shot in New York, while Tom was working, after the officer was taken to the hospital and the scene was safe, the first person that Tom spoke to was his wife, to let her know that he was OK. That is the essential respect that couples must have for one another when one or both of them is involved in law-enforcement.

Tom ‘s father lived long enough to see his son get the same gold shield that he once carried. Your shield number inside the New York City Police Department is your identity. It’s a number that you know better than your own Social Security number. When Tom brought this shield to his father bearing the same number he had worn all those years, telling him that it belonged to him now, tears welled up in his father‘s eyes. That feeling of pride, knowing that he had done a good job in raising this man that stood before him. The pride only a parent can feel.

All good things must come to an end and eventually it was time for Tom to move on and retire. When your career is so tightly woven into the fabric of who you are letting it go, it can be very difficult. Tom describes his departure from the world of law enforcement as “it’s like trying to walk backwards. You can do it, but it feels very awkward in the beginning.”  

Tom sorely missed that job that he loved so much, that job that allowed him to connect to his hero father. While he could no longer be a police officer, or a detective, Rightfully so in 2024, Tom was inducted into the National Law Enforcement Hall of Fame.  

Tom has found the next best thing to a rewarding career as a police detective. Along with his former colleague, Dan Murphy, Tom has begun the Gold Shields Show highlighting exceptional stories inside the world of law-enforcement.

With his new project, the Gold Shield Show, Tom stays closely connected to the world that he saw as the most honorable profession on the planet. Working alongside some of the best men and women whoever walked the planet, Tom’s passion for the job is clearly visible, and shines through with each episode.

Very seldom in this life are you able to attain your goal with such laser focus. All Tom ever wanted to be was a hero like his father was before him. Tom was able to accomplish that toll, along with so much more.

Do you want to share your story and inspire our readers ? Know that every story is paving the way for a brighter, happier future.

Kevin P. Donaldson
Kevin P. Donaldson

An accomplished author, seasoned Motivational Speaker and Podcast Host, Kevin P. Donaldson is known for transforming the lives of audiences. His talks are attended by people of all ages and backgrounds. Kevin's approach toward finding success and healing is approached by embracing your pain and running toward it head-on.

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