After talking to Sean Smith for a 2-hour coffee at Muse Café a couple weeks ago, it is obvious that he is a man of integrity and compassion. He is a healthy example of staying positive, even through life’s challenges. As Jimmy Buffet puts it “when life hands you limes, make margaritas. That may not always be easy, but Sean seems to push through the ups and downs with optimism and keeps smiling. “Life should be fun”, he says.
Sean is a firefighter for the City of Cincinnati Fire Department. As if that isn’t cool enough, he is an engine/ladder truck driver for CFD’s District 2. Listening to him describe his job can definitely bring out the inner child of the listener. He says, “when I was a kid, I loved fast & expensive cars, so I think it is kind of cool that I get to drive a half million-dollar vehicle and people move out of my way.” Cool indeed.
Sean says that his journey after high school was a time of trial and error. His road took a more purposeful direction when he decided to join the Navy, choosing to serve as a firefighter on an aircraft carrier. Being part of something so much bigger than yourself can be a turning point in your life. “Life in the Navy totally changed me”, says Sean. “I gained a deeper understanding of things like actions & consequences, team work, commitment and the importance of hard work”.
Even though he has been part of some incredible teams with the Navy and fellow firefighters, Sean readily admits his core strength comes from his family. He lights up when he speaks about his wife, Samantha (Sam) and their four daughters. It is obvious how committed they are to one another as they embrace the spirit of “life should be fun”. Yet, Sean takes his role at home seriously, “I work hard at being a good man, a good friend and a good father”.
Just for fun
Q: It sounds like life is good for the Smith’s. What’s the secret?
A: My relationship with my wife is the best. She is THE reason for my efforts to be a better person and grow. Sacrifices are part of raising a family, but she has been the strength to allow me to do my part.
Q: What are you kids up to now?
A: Madi, 20 is a hospital corpsman in the Navy. She lives in Guam, 8000 miles away
Jaiden, 17 is a senior at Walnut Hills, she plays softball and is in the marching band and is preparing for college.
Ella, 15 is a sophomore at Walnut Hills, also plays softball. She is in the marching band and the Jazz ensemble.
Mia, 10 is a 5th grader at Dater Montessori, she loves soccer and softball.
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: I think it is a career that fits me. I love the brotherhood, the excitement, and the opportunity to help people.
Q: Tell me some of your favorite things about our city.
A: Because of my schedule, Sam and I like to go on day dates. We enjoy the rebirth the OTR and Westwood.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Cincinnati? What do you love there?
A: Maury’s Tiny Cove – the atmosphere is so cool. It’s like Frank Sinatra is going to walk out from the back room.
Q: Who is someone in the community that has inspired you?
A: Captain Tom Pretty. Truck 24 in Price Hill. I worked with him for nearly 10 years and he taught me how to be a good firefighter. Not just the technical stuff but managing the culture of a firehouse too. He taught me a lot about how to be a good man. I heard a story about him teaching a stranger to read on the bench in front of the firehouse.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now where would it be?
A: Easter Island
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: Stepbrothers or Anchorman – I love to laugh. That is what I think movies do best for us. Make us laugh and distract us from our problems for a couple hours.
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: Know where an alternate exit is. Don’t always rely on where you came in.
Q: What band present or past would you like to see?
A: Junior Wells – he is a blues musician, plays the harmonica. That is my kind of music. I played the harmonica and sang in a blues band for a while.
Q: What building makes you the most nostalgic about Cincinnati?
A: I have always been impressed by the Cincinnati Bell Telephone Building on 7th Street downtown. I really like the limestone carvings on building which include rotary telephones, and telephone linesman’s pliers.
Q: What person, living or dead would you most like to have a conversation with?
A: My maternal grandfather. He died years ago, but I remember him as a tough, strong, smart person. I would appreciate being able to bounce things off of him, because I think he would give me a valuable perspective on things.
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: Let your light shine – we say that to our kids. Also, you are safe here to Be Yourself
Q: What do you do him for you?
A: I like skate boarding. I have a little boat in Brookville, and I like to camp.