Myrtle Beach, SC – Horry County Police Department (HCPD) Officer Aaron Lee Smith died unexpectedly at his home on Sept. 5.
The 26-year-old officer’s exact cause of death was not released, but his cousin, Caroline Arthur, noted in a Facebook post that more law enforcement officers die of suicide each year than by traffic accidents and shootings combined.
Officer Smith’s life of public service began at the age of 16, when he joined the Mineral Wells Volunteer Fire Department (MWVFD) as a junior firefighter, according to his obituary.
He began serving the MWVFD “in full capacity” at the age of 18, and also went on to work as an emergency medical technician (EMT) for Roane County Emergency Medical Services, the St. Joseph Ambulance Service, Jackson County Emergency Medical Services, Camden Clark Memorial Hospital, and Med Trust of Myrtle Beach.
Officer Smith later became a South Carolina State trooper before joining the HCPD as a police officer, according to his obituary.
“Anyone who knew Aaron knew his passion for front line service,” Arthur wrote. “His many hours of service, lives touched, and lives saved will not go unnoticed.”
“Unfortunately, the only life he couldn’t save was his own,” she continued. “We must do better. We must end the stigma of mental health in our world, in our daily lives….as for Aaron, if love could’ve saved him – he would’ve lived forever. Rest easy, and know that you will always be with us.”
Officer Smith leaves behind his wife, Chelsy, as well as his parents, two sisters, and his brother, according to his obituary.
He is also survived by his grandparents, in-laws, nieces, nephew, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Officer Smith was laid to rest on Sept. 12.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family Horry County Police Department Officer Aaron Lee Smith, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.