Minneapolis 'Mad Dads' founder out of hospital after battling COVID-19

Jay Kolls
Updated: October 21, 2020 10:17 PM
Created: October 21, 2020 09:32 PM

VJ Smith, 65, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he is “thankful and blessed” to be out of the hospital, after spending five days receiving oxygen while fighting double pneumonia after contracting COVID-19 nearly two weeks ago.

“I had hundreds of people calling and praying for me and I do believe it helped tremendously,” said Smith. “People actually started crying and telling me I couldn’t die and I realized that God was  working at a miracle.”

Smith found MAD DADS in 1998 and has saved lives by working with kids and young adults on the streets preventing many planned crimes before they could happen and often comforting families of kids he couldn’t reach in time.

“It was hard being away from my south Minneapolis office and not out there doing the work we’ve done for 22 years,” said Smith. “I teared up a little bit walking across the parking lot here and then heading up those steps was like walking to heaven, for me.”

Smith said he started MAD DADS with about “four to five guys” who would hit the streets and talk to young adults and kids who were on the verge of getting into serious trouble, but since then the organization has grown significantly.

“We went from a few guys back in 1998 to 46 people who work with me now,” said Smith. “And, they work hard and are committed to saving lives and keeping peace and they do it seven days a week and they do it around the clock.”

Smith said he tested negative for COVID-19 last Friday after being discharged from the hospital and this is his first week back on the job.


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