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News | Aug. 12, 2016

Aviation employee’s son going for Olympic gold in Rio

By Leon Moore DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Whether it’s watching Michael Phelps and Simone Manuel in the pool, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the basketball court or the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, the excitement of the 2016 summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro can cause your heart to race. 

For one Defense Logistics Agency Aviation employee, this feeling of excitement is tripled. That’s because David Smith’s son is actually competing. 

“He told me eight years ago that he would make it to the Olympics and true to his word he did,” said Smith.”

Smith is a customer support technician at DLA Aviation at Warner Robins, Georgia. His son, David "D.J." Smith Sanchez is a world-class high jumper and is competing at this summer’s games as a member of the Puerto Rican National Team. D.J. is representing that country in honor of his maternal grandfather Francisco Rivera Sanchez, a Vietnam veteran who was born in Puerto Rico. He passed away two years ago.

“D.J. felt it was the best way to honor him,” said Smith.

D.J. has an outstanding chance of making his late grandfather proud. He was a three-time All-American at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. Smith said his son also excels in the classroom. D.J. is scheduled to graduate from Auburn with a master’s degree in January.

“I feel truly blessed and overjoyed that God has blessed me with a son who is truly dedicated and self-motivated,” said Smith.