St. Paul football retires number of fallen firefighter Austin Smith

Published: Oct. 29, 2022 at 10:55 AM PDT
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ST. PAUL, Ore. (KPTV) - Austin Smith lost his life while being a hero. The 30-year-old volunteer firefighter from St. Paul died in February when responding to a barn fire.

At game between St. Paul and Perrydale, the Bucks retired jersey 77, the number that Smith wore during his time as a Buckaroo. The community came out, as they have since February, to honor Smith and his family.

“It’s the first jersey we’ve ever retired in our program,” St. Paul head football coach Tony Smith said. “Actually, at our school, in all sports.”

At halftime, the Bucks gathered next to the field for a moment of silence for Austin Smith, who tragically passed away from injuries he sustained in the fire.

Mark Daniel, a captain with the St. Paul Fire District, started volunteering around the same time as Austin Smith. He said the community support following the incident has been amazing.

SEE ALSO: Close-knit St. Paul community lines streets for procession of firefighter Austin Smith

“It’s been very humbling, you know?” Daniel said. “This is a very tight knit community. It’s an honor to live and serve here.”

Austin Smith was a 2010 graduate of St. Paul High School and a member of the 2009 state championship football season.

“What he meant our community, we thought it was appropriate,” Tony Smith said. “Because of his contributions to our football program also. A combination of those two things. We thought it was very appropriate.”

He wore the number 77 in honor of his father, who graduated from St. Paul High School in 1977.

Daniel said tonight shows just how close the community is.

“To have Austin’s jersey retired tonight, it’s an honor to be here,” he said. “It’s an honor to be a part of what are our community and what our family really needs to do to continue our path to healing.”