The Evans Family relates How Congressman Chris Smith Saved their Children
By Rosalie Avin
Chris Smith , Congressman 4th district, A REAL Advocate for His Constituents
Stories demonstrating his deep concern for the issues of the people in New Jersey are often understated by the media but to the people whose lives he has impacted, Chris Smith is a hero and a person who deserves to be re-elected to the fourth district by a landslide. Teah and Joseph Evans want their story to be shared so that voters will understand the character and the resilience of this incredible man. It is their hope that stupid, vitriolic ads will always be ignored. Congressman Chris Smith has represented the fourth district with compassion, concern and awareness.
The story begins in 2008, with a birthday celebration in Georgia, a country near Russia and Teah’s place of birth. The Evans family, including Ashley 7 and Sophia, 3 1/2 enjoy the time with family. The girls were to stay for the summer while their parents went back to work. Not long after Teah and Joseph returned to the states, the Olympics began and simultaneously Russian Troops were ordered to invade Georgia. The timing was clear, Olympic Coverage would minimize the magnitude of this attack. Listening to the radio that night, Teah and Joseph realized that their two little girls were trapped in Russian occupied territory and had no way to return home. They felt desperate, and hopeless. They decided to contact their Congressman thinking he could direct them. That man was Chris Smith and within an hour of the first phone call, he had personally contacted them and pledged to help.
Chris Smith did more than help. He was the leader who guided the couple through the hierarchy and the red tape directly to the desk of President Bush. He also contacted the media. He escorted Teah to many of the TV appearances but refused to go on himself. He was there for support and to thwart any uncomfortable situation. Teah reflects that the media was relentless and if it wasn’t for Smith, she wonders what would have happened. Her worry for her children as Eastside Georgia fell was insurmountable. A plan was put into place to rescue the girls but at the last minute, cancelled. It was decided because of the “sensitive” relationship between the U.S. and Russia there might be serious repercussions.
Hours after Teah learned of the cancellation, she received a call from Congressman Smith saying he was on his way to Georgia himself. He had connections with the French Ambassador, John Fornair and felt he would be able to get more done in person. Risking his life, did not seem to matter. Teah wondered how he felt so connected to the two little girls he never met. Three weeks after Russia invaded Georgia, the two Evan’s children were on their way back to the states escorted by Chris Smith, their father and their uncle. The Drama surrounding their actual release is a story in itself.
In interviewing Teah today, her love and great respect for her Representative was prevalent. She told me her daughter had watched an opponent’s “disgusting” attack ad and had asked her why anyone would do that to this wonderful man. She wanted all voters to know that Chris Smith is the “REAL DEAL”.
To sweeten the story, the then seven-year-old Ashley has just been accepted into the New Jersey Air National Guard, with the 177th Fighter Wing.