Army Pfc. Cody Smith checks out a donated hot tub behind his studio apartment Monday in Ruch. Mail Tribune / Julia Moore - Julia Moore

Volunteers ease wounded soldier's return

Cody Smith didn't recognize his childhood bedroom when he arrived at the family's handsome World War I-era Craftsman-style home in Ruch two weeks ago.

Dozens of volunteers, using materials donated by area businesses, replaced his bedroom with a new studio apartment, complete with a new bathroom and wheel-in shower and other amenities.

The work and materials donated totaled about $150,000, estimates Rush Behnke, a Medford building contractor and project coordinator.

On Monday, a new $5,500 hot tub donated by Hot Spring Spas of Medford was installed just outside Smith's bedroom.

Armed with a green thumb, Cody already has rolled outside to plant tomatoes in the planter boxes the volunteers built.

"I've always had a garden out there — never this nice, though," says Smith, son of Chris and Vicky Smith. "It's just amazing how much people care in a small community. It's pretty crazy what everybody did for me — amazing."

Local residents also contributed $10,800 to an account for him in the South Valley Bank and another $8,000 was netted in a yard sale fundraiser, organizers say.

A motorcycle poker run will be held July 30 to raise funds to purchase a quad for Smith, an avid outdoors man. The event begins with registration at 9 a.m. at the Motorcycle Superstore at 4918 Crater Lake Ave., Medford, ending at the Touvelle Tavern, 9367 Table Road Road, Central Point. Cost is $15 per person and $5 for an extra hand.

Non-riders are welcome at the finale beginning at 2 p.m. at Touvelle Tavern, where there will be drawings, raffles and live music provided by 221Fly and Groove DeVille.

"Our whole focus is to purchase a quad for Cody to enable him to get into the outdoors he loves," explains organizer Cheryl Coburn, a member of the Motorcycle Riders Association, one of the sponsors.

The Kawasaki Co. has offered a like-new demo quad at Motorcycle USA for the reduced price of $6,000 for Smith. With about $1,000 already netted in donations, the goal is to raise $5,000 during the poker run, says Coburn, who is a friend of the Smith family.

For more information, call Coburn at 541-842-8373 or 541-261-9922 or email her at

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