Remembering a husband and hero

Dalene Davies-Smoot | August 07, 2013

Police at sceneOn May 17, 2012, at 5:04 p.m. Ronald Hawkinson, a former truck driver for LCS Logistics, allegedly walked into the small office area and shot my husband, Bob Smoot, multiple times. Bob was employed as the LCS small fleet’s operations manager. It has been reported that Hawkinson had been in a financial dispute with the owner of the company who was also shot and killed. Bob was merely doing what Bob always did – trying to negotiate the situation to defuse the man’s anger so that no harm would come to anyone. In Bob’s 26-year career in the trucking industry, he had always succeeded because he was just that good with anyone and everyone. This time, his efforts failed to prevent the unimaginable. Yet even when faced with impending death, Bob was the one who discretely dialed 911 with his cell phone whereby the dispatcher heard what was described in the opening paragraph. I have not heard the 911 call, nor do I know if I want or will be allowed to, but I have been told what it is on it and can tell you my husband died a hero. Bob did not lose his life – he gave it trying to save someone else.

Bob Smoot

“Be a fountain, not a drain!” –Bob Smoot, July 9 1962-May 17, 2012. Readers can communicate with Dalene Davies-Smoot via a memorial page established for her husband on Facebook. Find it via this link.

It will be 15 months on August 17, and I still pray that I will wake up in a cold sweat, roll over, and wake Bob exclaiming, “You’re not going to believe the nightmare I had!” Yet the comforting words of 617 sympathy cards and notes I’ve received since then still help me grip the reality that Bob will never again walk through the door saying, “Yum, something smells good, baby doll.” Nor will he ever again be the tail end of a makeshift fire truck as he and our grandson roam through the house with a squirt gun looking for Grandma, who’s hypothetically on fire. And never again will a driver be able to call Bob in the middle of the night with an astronomical problem that no one can fix, yet after ten minutes of talking to Bob, that same unfixable problem is a minimal issue that Bob will help solve in the morning after the driver gets rest and the office is open. Who misses Bob Smoot? Everyone who knew him.

After more than a year of continuations and competency evaluations, the trial is finally scheduled to begin on September 23. It will difficult at best, yet I look forward to getting it behind me and my family, and Bob’s family by blood and mine by love in Michigan. I am ready to face Bob’s alleged killer and Hawkinson’s girlfriend at the time, who will undoubtedly be in the courtroom. (She was originally charged with accessory after the fact but was exonerated because officials failed to read her Miranda rights – yes, you read it right.)

Next to his family, Bob loved his drivers and the industry. –Dalene Davies-Smoot about her husband

Bob and I had a whirlwind romance – quick to determine we were meant for each other. It was a second marriage for both of us and one blessed by two committed loving adults who treasured each other. We were inseparable – until our grandson came along in 2005. I then took a second seat to this child that Bob loved so dearly – like the child he never had. Our family was the most important thing in Bob’s world, next to his family in Michigan. And we never missed a chance to say I love you. Every day, every phone conversation, every quick trip apart even to pick up a pizza, always he would say, “I love you, baby doll.” And I would respond, “I love you too, babe.” It was no different that last conversation I had with him at 11:35 a.m. on May 17, 2012. There is a certain feeling of comfort to know that the last words Bob heard from me were, “I love you, babe.” He died knowing he was valued, treasure, and loved beyond measure.

Next to his family, Bob loved his drivers and the industry. His experience, expertise and work ethic made him a valuable commodity to any company. Some drivers even followed Bob when he moved from Omaha to Des Moines to start his new life with me. He was respected, loved, humorous, respectful, brilliant…and one of a kind. I supported him in job changes, always for the betterment of his family by offering more wages, and he supported me in my 16-year even as I grew tired of it. I was able to leave that job in December of 2011 and in early May of 2012, Bob wanted me to take over the brokerage side of the LCS business from home, so that he and the boss could continue to build the fleet and grow the business.

I jumped at the chance to help him and to get me back into trucking, for which he and I shared a common love. He never got the chance to tell me his secrets to success in the brokerage.

A few weeks prior to May 17, Bob had been recruited for another position for a major company. He was offered great pay, great benefits, and discussions about what to do were the topic of conversation around the supper table for several evenings. He wanted to own trucks himself so badly, and his boss had made it so that he could purchase one and did (which is where I took a leap of faith and sunk my entire 403B retirement savings). One sleepless night we went out on our deck and I told him, “You have supported me in everything – and it’s my turn to tell you to RYD – Realize Your Dream.” (Bob had placed an announcement ad for me in the Des Moines Register before coming to Des Moines to join me, because he felt that being with me and starting our new family was realizing his dream, and it was what he encouraged everyone to do – Realize Your Dream – RYD.) So the decision was made jointly to stay at LCS Logistics and continue his dream. How I wish now I wouldn’t have supported him so – he’d be with me today. Had I not encouraged him to RYD, he’d be with me today. Had I not loved him so much that I wanted him to have the world, he’d be with me today.

So where am I today? I am on Social Security disability due to the trauma I’ve experienced. I am not able to hold a full-time job, but did some part time writing until the company I was writing for downsized. I tried to continue the brokerage, but my skill set is mediocre at best and Bob spoiled his customers — mediocre is not what they are looking for. I have applied for many jobs and receive few responses. I have no health insurance but am on the state’s program for the indigent. I have no vehicle because I had to sell it to make June and July rent and bills. I have to move out of my apartment by August 31 and haven’t a clue where I’m going, much less how I’m going to get there. I am trying desperately to avoid bankruptcy, but I’m not sure that is an effort in which I will succeed. There was no workers’ comp, no life insurance, no retirement, and no truck.

I was covered under COBRA for several months after I left my job, thanks to my former employer, who was more than generous at keeping me on the policy. But when it came time for me to make the payment – more than $600/month – I simply couldn’t manage it.

Bob wanted life insurance (a big thing to him because he was turning 50 on July 9, 2012), so he had me go to our agent and get set up for a $300,000 policy. He wanted to be sure I’d be taken care of in the event of his unexpected death. He was going to give a first month’s premium and sign papers on Wednesday, May 16, 2012. But Bob, as always doing for others, was giving his boss a ride to and from work and the boss got a phone call as they left the office that night, which delayed them. Bob didn’t get to the insurance office before they closed, and he was killed the next day.

My retirement went into his truck and his brokerage. I ultimately lost both. I have no money at all, friends and family help as best they can, and my Social Security covers rent and hardly anything else. When I had a vehicle I would eat at the shelter once or twice a week, a very humbling experience, and one I hope to continue even when (if) life stops beating me against a wall at every turn.

In addition to all this, my mother-in-law died in February, and I had just started to develop the relationship with her that I should have nurtured many years ago. I thought I had forever to do that. And although in perspective not nearly as traumatic yet a loss nonetheless, Bob’s cocker spaniel, Lucy, died in April. She was his companion and his dog but became my comforter and my best friend once she realized no amount of staring out the window would bring him home.

What do I need? Prayer, financial help, support, and love. I’m strong and independent, yet I realize that in order to continue the forward progress I am slowly making, I still need help. I could not have made it this far without the help of so many and I will be indebted to them for the rest of my life. Thank you is an over simplification of the gratitude I feel, yet its simplicity does convey my grateful appreciation.

Dalene Davies-Smoot

Dalene Davies-Smoot

Not long after Bob was killed I coined this phrase of faith. It’s helped me and others who are survivors of violent crimes: The cowardly incompetence of evil will always be overcome by good. Justice and Karma working together will deliver what is due.

I gotta believe.

 

Find Dalene Davies-Smoot via the Bob Smooth Memorial Page she administers on Facebook.

  • martymarsh

    I wasn’t going to comment for fear of stepping on toes, or in this case hearts. But it is the phrase you coined that did it.
    You might want to look at who started the cowardly incompetence, this isn’t the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last that something like this has happened. As a matter of fact I’m surprised it hasn’t happened more. Truck drivers in general are treated like garbage and it would be obvious you can push some people just so far.
    There are a lot of companies these days where you have to talk to the dispatcher thru a little window, does that sound like a fair company or are truck drivers just a bunch of freaked out killers. Actually we must be killers, because they are trying to regulate us like everyone of us goes out and kills at least one person a day.
    Although I certainly don’t condone shooting anyone, this guy Hawkinson may have been pushed in to the same situation you find yourself in now, broke, because of people playing games. I’m sure it wasn’t over he didn’t want to take a trip to Chicago, these thing are always about money.
    But then I’m very sure, like the rest of the country, you have no interest in what pushed this man this far, or how much harassment he might have put up with. It is obvious that his life is over also, don’t you at least want to know why?
    Best of luck and God Bless.

  • JimBob

    @ MartyMarsh: There are very few things that justify murder but being pushed too far is not one of those things. You should be ashamed of yourself for coming on here and saying stuff like that. Good luck with life…. with an attitude like that you are going to need it.

  • Shawn L Hubbard

    Wow, so in your head, the victim and his wife are the bad guys and the killer becomes the victim? And you then have the nerve to cloak it in God? Sick… How about you take a second to consider other people’s feelings instead of being self-absorbed? If your intent was to victimize the wife again, mission accomplished.

  • martymarsh

    Hey here lying Shawn again, no little man you didn’t get that right, I was talking about the CAUSE of why these things happen, I see you haven’t grown a brain yet.

  • dalenedaviessmoot

    I would be very careful to judge my husband by what you think other office personnel have done to you or others. My husband was a driver advocate like no other and he went above and beyond to help drivers. The alledged shooter was hardly pushed by the two that helped him the most – the boss and my husband – he was pushed by his own selfish and cowardly motives much like a bully who kicks the weakened child then cries to mama that he hurt his foot when he kicked him. It’s devisive, it’s evil, and it’s cowardly. Let the trial tell the truth ~ may he rot in hell ~ and may the great drivers that make up the industry we’re so proud to be a part of remain solvent and committed to changing the face of trucking in the public’s eye today.

  • Shawn L Hubbard

    I don’t need to lie, Marty, your own words say it all! And let me check…nope, still no brain but I’ll keep checking and get back to ya.

  • martymarsh

    I am not judging your husband, I never said your husband did anything. But I do know for a fact that harassment goes in this industry big time, not to mention being cheated out of money. Now if they just walk away from it they get their name in DAC with some lie to go along with it so they can’t get another job, and everyone knows all of this but yet it continues.
    I don’t think anyone is justified in shooting at a work place, but you don’t stop them unless you know WHY. It is always the same old story, he was just pissed off at the world, and no one will admit when a person is harassed day in and day out.
    And you are right, I was harassed like you can’t even imagine. But do you honestly think that all of their wives or husbands knew the truth. The best part it continued on even after I got other jobs, so I know what people are capable of.
    So that is why I take the position I do today.
    Go on RipOffReport.com and check out all of the trucker reports and then tell me, why would anyone think all of these people are lying.
    These things won’t stop until we admit why they happen in the first place.
    So you know, I always do my homework before I open my mouth and I found out that this guy wasn’t a nice guy to begin with, which is no secret. But that in it’s self should tell people they never know what they are dealing with.
    So with all of that said, if your husband was the honorable man you say he was, would he disagree with me?

  • martymarsh

    Shawn you are a liar, I got that from the last conversation we had. Someone has given you the job as a troll and you are rolling in it like they have crowned you king, but like the rest of us, you are just another nothing. It amazes me how many people make intimidation away of life, but your nothing more than a loud mouth bully. Keep talking.

  • Dave Nichols

    RIP Bob. Thanks for your courage

  • Dave Nichols

    no, Bib was a victim, as was the shooter who was victimized by a company owner likely mistreating him

  • dalenedaviessmoot

    I can feel the venom spewing at me through these pages! Shawn, I don’t think you are a bully. I think that you are a disgruntled truck driver, much like Hawkinson, yet I don’t believe you’ve shot two people multiple times. Instead of concentrating on why the (alleged) shoooter did that, why don’t you look at why you haven’t? You obviously hate trucking personnel and rightfully so if your experience has been as bad as you state it has. And yet you’ve not shot two people, right? Why not? You seem to be comparing yourself to Hawkinson – both disgruntled; probably over money (yet not what you think), harrassed, on and on. But you’ve not shot two people. Why not? Because you are a mature adult – not a child in a man’s body (I know the guys on here responding will disagree with me but I feel your harboring resentment for those in the office). As much as you bitch, at least you direct it in ways that allow you to vent with words and not deadly force. So please don’t waste your efforts on trying to figure out why he did what he did. We know why….and yes it was money related. Public information: the boss loaned him money for child support in the past and also money to buy a semi….when he failed to make payments and took his 18-wheel toy somewhere else, he lost in court and he couldn’t handle that. The embarrassment alone was more than this big man on campus (but only with a gun) could handle. And if you really did your homework on him, you clearly see that he’s the devil’s spawn. There’s no question why he did it – the question is why doesn’t everyone else? Or are you capable, Shawn? Afterall, you stated no one really knows what they’re dealing with….oh, except you…you also stated you know what people are capable of….oh well confusion is my constant state these days.
    I will not justify my husband’s honor to you or anyone else. His career and driver followers speak for themselves. If you cared as much to look into his career as you did the shooter’s background you would not be stating such a childish challenge to me. But again, you are voicing your opinion and everyone has one….just like assholes.

  • dalenedaviessmoot

    I apologize Shawn!!! I I got names mixed up – Marty is who I directed the above comment to…my apologies!! PLEASE REPLACE SHAWN’S NAME WITH MARTY’S IN THE ABOVE ARTICLE…SO SORRY!

  • Shawn L Hubbard

    You are entitled to your opinion Dave, but mine is there’s no justification for killing someone unless it’s in self defense. If the murderer was being treated unfairly, he could turn to the legal system for redress, or even throw punches if he felt justified. But gunning down an unarmed man is a cowardly move. In my experience, anyone who sympathizes with a punk who doesn’t have the balls to give someone a fighting chance probably shares his lack of courage. It’s easy to murder someone when they can’t fight back, and a person who thinks it’s okay likely has a criminal mentality himself.

  • Shawn L Hubbard

    Awww, does the baby want his bottle? I take great pleasure hearing I’m a bully from the number one bully and bigot on this site. Thanks!

  • martymarsh

    Calling me a bully, that is rich coming from a slug like you.

  • martymarsh

    The legal system? Wow are you a joke or what? That is why this stuff happens to begin with, be cause there are no real laws for harassment, yes sexual harassment, race harassment, but just every day harassment is a lot harder to prove. Not to mention most are in on it so it’s one persons word against how many. Now for the big question little man, who said it was ok to gun down anyone? There you go with your lying again.

  • Shawn L Hubbard

    Haha, it’s okay. Stuff happens! :-)

  • Shawn L Hubbard

    Oh, slug…good one. But at least I’m not hypocrite. One moment you justify cold blooded murder of a man,then you have the nerve to write God Bless? Have you forgotten “Thou shalt not kill”? What church do you attend, Wrstboro Baptist? Jeez, what kind of evil person would do that?

  • martymarsh

    Why can’t you say anything without lying? Or is it a comprehension problem? Everything I said is still up there, read it a little slower. The best part about all of this, anyone reading it will see you are a liar. So rant on.

  • Shawn L Hubbard

    You’re right Marty, it’s up there for everyone to read. I’m actually starting to feel sorry for you, it’s apparent to me that you’re a broken toy and it’s not your fault. Have a good night.

  • martymarsh

    I understand people without a conscience sleep well, is that true?

  • dalenedaviessmoot

    Can this stop? Get off of each other and back to the reality. Nothing said will bring Bob or his boss back; and unfortunately the truth of the situation won’t be known until the trial….and yes Marty, I do know the truth – proven, definite, and deserving of the hell where he will spend eternity.

  • martymarsh

    Dale, this wasn’t really about Bob in my eyes, but it was an opportunity to show many, some of the problems in this industry and why they happen, and although it does happen that someone goes off the deep end without much help, I would say that is rare. We can’t stop it if we don’t talk about, and the people that cause it don’t want anyone talking about it.

  • Liz Valenta

    Liz, married 1984-2001 knows the truth.And SOON it will all be revealed via documentation.

  • Dalene Davies-Smoot

    Ignorance is an excuse for the stupid. In order to be understood, one must first make sense – some never have and never will. Bob told everyone he had been in prison for 17 years until I broke him out…and then and only then had he known what love was. We have dealt with the worst kind of domestic psychotic nightmare imaginable for 12 years – but he convinced me to laugh at the fool whose opinion matters to no one on the face of the earth….and we did a LOT of laughing!!

  • Liz

    Thought a potential “witness” for the prosecution isn’t supposed to comment…true colors yet again.

  • Liz Valenta

    Dramatics are for The Emmys or Oscars. Take it elsewhere and really display honor. Thank you.

  • Liz Valenta

    Forgive me, Dave. Your sentiment is simple, and to the point!

  • Liz Valenta

    Hawkinson had a choice. Typical murderers who make excuses.

  • Liz Valenta

    It’s actually “Thou shalt not kill.” Acts of war, accidental death, self-defense are permissable. This man murdered.

  • martymarsh

    I should be ashamed of myself? This whole country should be ashamed of it’s self for ignoring the problems that cause these things. If you was ever harassed you wouldn’t be so high and mighty and that goes for the clowns that give you a thumbs up.

  • dalenedaviessmoot

    I would like for the one not involved in the situation or in trucking to refrain from commenting. Discussions are only helpful if they make sense – your comments are ridiculous. Bob hated you and what you were; respect him enough to quit harassing me. You mean nothing to anyone and have nothing of interest to anyone. You are only embarrassing yourself. Bob’s biggest regret in life was marrying you…do him a favor and let him RIP knowing he did marry the right one if only for the short 11 years we spent together.

  • Guest

    Someone is looking into a cracked mirror.

  • dalenedaviessmoot

    No, Liz, you are the cracked mirror. Please for your sake, stay out of my life. Bob is living and breathing in me and his hatred for you, my dislike of you, his family’s disdain of you, and everyone in trucking that knew you as the laughing stock and “What the hell were you thinking, Bob?” will never end. You have no business in my business. To Bob you were dead. To Bob he was never married until he married me. Now do yourself a favor and go far far away where your psychotic behavior will be welcomed behind closed doors where you will wear a white jacket in padded rooms.

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