When Florida Highway Patrol Trooper and DUI crusader Robert Glenn Smith was killed by a drunk driver on July 26, 1997, his wife, Lisa, and their twin children were devastated. Inspired by organizations like the ones that came to their financial aid following his death, Lisa has founded the Trooper Robert Glenn Smith (TRGS) Foundation to help families who have endured similar tragedies.
“After years had passed, I just kept wanting to do something in his name; I wanted to leave a legacy for his children,” she said. “We were just so grateful that, since he was killed in the line of duty, the state took care of us. I just kept thinking about the families of officers who were killed while off duty. What about those families?
“I wanted to have my own foundation to be able to provide financial assistance that not only helps out the families themselves both financially and through scholarships but one that also extends to the schools to enhance some of the programs that are out there.”
On Sept. 28, the TRGS Foundation will launch with an inaugural golf tournament to tee off at 1 p.m. on the Palmetto Golf Course, 9300 SW 152 St. All proceeds will go to the foundation. It will be the first major event held at the course since its renovation. Police officers, state troopers and firefighters are expected to participate and everyone is invited to attend.
The event is a fitting one as Robert, who graduated from Southridge High School in 1981, was an avid golfer.
“Robbie graduated from LSU and he went to their golf tournament for the alumni there every year,” Lisa said. “A lot of the Troopers love to golf and we’re really having a great turnout with people helping us get it together.”
For kids, there is a putt-putt golf course and Lisa hopes to have an RV on site emblazoned with Robert’s photos that will host interactive educational activities for kids including breathalyzer and seatbelt safety demonstrations.
Once the tournament concludes at 6 p.m. the evening will continue in a nearby ballroom with the adults-only Diva Quarter Auction, hosted by TRGS Foundation committee member Sheila Gomez. She and Lisa have been friends for more than 15 years.
A popular event in the Broward area, the auction only has been in Miami for three months. All proceeds from the purchases of paddles used during the auction process will go to the foundation. Auction vendor members include Party Lite, Mary Kay, Slumber Parties, Passion Parties and Origami Owl. Sheila’s interchangeable purse company, Miche Bag, and Lisa’s health company, Isagenix, also are participating.
“We are actually giving great products to these guests, who are not paying to come in except for a paddle and with the quarters they want to bring,” Sheila said. “It gives back to the foundation, so this should be a great thing.”
A member of several groups including Police Officer Assistance Trust, Concerned of Police Survivors and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Lisa, who will be using some of the money raised from the tournament to launch a website, expects these groups to refer people they cannot help to her foundation.
“They’re going to know what my foundation is about so they can send people to my website that they can’t assist,” she said. “I just want to be a branch off of that because there are so many foundations out there that help in different ways.”
She hopes to bring the foundation to a national level.
“I want to be able to have a foundation so large that I can provide jobs for people, so we’re just trying to get as much exposure as we can for people to come out, support us and donate,” she said. “I want to change the world, if I can, with what we do.”
For more information or to contribute, visit online at www.trgs.eventbrite.com