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Zach Smith Following His Dream On and Off the Field

Local Teen uses Flag Football to keep in shape in hopes of being a firefigher

Most kids say they want to be a fireman or a policeman when they grow up. But then they pursue other things as they get older. Zach Smith kept to his word and is pursuing his dream of being a fireman. However, Zach is not the most athletic person and realized he needed to do something to help with his ability. So he signed up at in Lawrenceville for their innaugural flag football league. "I knew I had to do something to stay in shape," said Smith. "S0 I thought, I like football and this would help."

Smith is not the most fleet of foot by his own admission, but loves sports and one day wants to be a professional firefighter. He attends a firefighter school that meets on Thursday nights. Smith also suffers from a mild case of torrets syndrome. "He coughs or barks or screams sometimes but it is a mild case," said his mother Dona Smith. "It's controlled with medication. Sometimes he has some jerky motions but it's not that noticeable. He's been on the medications since second grade. He has over come so much with God's help. And to see what God is doing in his life (is awesome). He has goals and ambitions."

Smith will be a senior next year and hopes to go on to become a firefighter. He is attending each Thursday night a school taught by the Gwinnett County Firefighters. "It all started a few years ago as I was at the Mall of Georgia and an elderly lady missed a step and fell down the escalator," Smith said. "I saw the paramedics and thought it was a really cool job so I did some research and learned that I could go to a class to learn to become a firefighter."

The Gwinnett County Fire Explorers is a group of high school students that meet at the Gwinnett County Fire Academy on Hamilton Mill Road. They train the recruits and next month plan on setting a fire to give live action to the trainees. "We go to public events and talk to the little kids about fire safety," Smith said. "It's a real cool experience." Smith plays on the 17u Lions in the inaugural Flag Football League to help him stay in shape. "I love sports to death and love playing. I want to do a lot of running which helps my stamina and helps me stay in shape." Smith actually deflected many passes and scored on a 75-yard deflected pass that he took for a touchdown in the jamboree last Saturday.

Smith says the school and training has helped him overcome his two biggest fears. One is heights as they propelled down a 5-story building and he says he is a bit closterphobic and wearing the SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus, has helped him overcome that fear. "It all starts in your mind," Smith said. "If you can't do it on the inside then you can't do it on the outside."

So if there is ever a major fire in the area don't be surprised to see Zach Smith come to the rescue.

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