- Associated Press - Sunday, December 25, 2016

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Brian Smith couldn’t breathe when he was born.

With an umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, he explains that he was born dead. He was nicknamed “Blue” because of the color of his skin the first few days when his body worked to restore the needed oxygen to survive. And because of his life, he works to give as much life back to others as possible.

Smith does that through The Blue Heart Foundation, an organization the 2003 Carver High School and 2009 Alabama State University graduate created as a way to give back to the community - to children, the hungry, and to the elderly.

“Everything that I do with the organization is from the heart,” he said. “I came from a single parent household, so I never really had anything, so as I got older, I promised myself that I would help others. Every project that I took on, I paid for out of my pocket because we as people need to realize that we can’t die with money, so let’s do something productive with it. Let’s help the next person.”

This past Thanksgiving, he purchased 325 canned goods for the Salvation Army. With the help of the Hamilton Masonic Lodge No. 365, he bought more than 300 pairs of socks for Capitol Hill Nursing Home and Hillview Terrace Nursing Home.

He has also collected items for “Gifts for Kids.” Items collected for patients at Baptist East include coloring books, crayons, stuffed animals and bubbles. He purchases the items from discount stores, and wants to gift the children with the items to help “keep them occupied while they’re lying in the hospital.”

Smith, a member of the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, Inc., and of the Hamilton Masonic Lodge No. 365, understand the importance of giving back. It is something his mother, Ann Smith McCall, instilled in him at a young age.

Before many Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, McCall would first take her children to the Salvation Army to help serve the homeless dinner before returning home to eat their own meal. But Smith also saw his mother give Christmas baskets to those in nursing homes, and toiletry-type items for the women at Tutwiler Prison.

“He was always a good child,” she said. “I never had any trouble with him. Always took him to church and to Sunday School.”

Smith created the foundation for several reasons. To help children, and also to help those with a low income - families who do not have a lot, and children who might not otherwise receive a gift.

“I plan to put smiles on their faces,” he said. “I feel like it’s important to give back. I feel it’s important to always make the next person happy. It’s a good deed, so I think it’s a good thing to do.”

Aside from giving back, Smith, who works at Gunter Annex, said his mother taught him “to keep my trust in God.

“With God, you have everything. She was a hard working mom, so I instilled from her to always work hard. She had three jobs, trying to take care of me and my sisters. So that instilled in me to be a hard worker. Work with what you have. I don’t have much, but I turned out all right.”

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Information from: Montgomery Advertiser, https://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com


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