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Haine presents widow husband’s 68 year-old medals

Published: Thursday, October 02, 2014 12:35 PM

White Smith HaineWOOD RIVER, Ill. – Lonnie Smith was honorably discharged from the Marines when he was 23 years old. Like any other veteran, there was lots of paperwork.

Somewhere, somehow something got lost in the shuffle and Lonnie never received three awards he earned during his service in the Pacific theater in World War II.

Lonnie Smith went on to work as a welder. He married Fern Smith and they had a son.

Lonnie died April 2013 at the age of 90, having never received his medals.

On Thursday, state Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) presented Fern with her husband’s three missing medals during a ceremony at the Fox Grove Supportive Living Community.

"We have a humble duty to remember the veterans who have served and sacrificed for this country. Sadly, we couldn't give these to Lonnie while he was alive, but I hope that they can be a comfort to Fern and remind us of our obligation to every veteran," Haine said.

“I didn't know what to expect. I’m thrilled – this was unbelievable,” Fern said

The process of getting the medals began when Fern talked to Fred Smith, a family friend, about Lonnie's medals. Fred is a member of the Illinois Patriot Guard – a group of motorcycle riders who support the families of fallen veterans and first responders through honor missions and by shielding funeral services from unwanted protesters.

“Lonnie was a tough old boy and his wife is a sweetheart. I want his family to have something to remember – what we do is all about the families. If what we do gives them a memory to hold onto we’ve done our job,” Fred said.

Fred turned to Haine’s office for help. During the presentation, Haine praised the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs for getting Lonnie's military records released.

“All the men and women who have served: Let’s not forget them and their service to our nation," Earl White Southern Division Field Supervisor for the department said. White, Veterans’ Service Officer Ed Barnes and Field Services Manager Harry Sawyer procured the medals.

During the event White also presented Fern with an Illinois State Flag.

Haine had the honor of presenting Fern with The Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, China Service Medal and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal that her husband earned serving our country.

The Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal is awarded to Marines who land on foreign territory, engage in operations against armed opposition or operate under circumstances that earn special recognition and when no other campaign medal has been awarded. This medal was first issued in 1919 and is still awarded today.

The China Service Medal was awarded to members of the Navy and Marine Corps who served in China or its territorial waters in either the lead up or aftermath of World War II.

The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal was awarded to members of the armed forces who served in the Pacific theater of World War II.

Manar: Talk is cheap, time for reform

Published: Monday, September 29, 2014 11:41 AM

092914CM0431RSPRINGFIELD – Today, Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) applauded the action that members of the state House of Representatives have taken to advance the merits of Senate Bill 16, even as a small contingent advanced House Resolution 1276, which opposes the plan for fair funding of education across the state.

“The resolution denouncing Senate Bill 16 is as empty as the halls of hundreds of schools that have been closed due to the unwillingness of the General Assembly to reform an old and broken system,” said Sen. Manar.

“Platitudes that pay lip service to problems in our educational system without advancing clear solutions are a disservice to the reform process and the students waiting for true leadership on their behalf,” he continued.

Senator Forby: Southern Illinois development welcome

Published: Thursday, September 25, 2014 10:23 AM

052814CM0193HARRISBURG – Communities in Saline and Williamson counties are next in a long line in Southern Illinois to see added construction funding, thanks to State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton).

The project is part of the Illinois Jobs Now! Program, intended to help counter unemployment and aging facilities throughout the state. For local upcoming projects, the state dedicated $27.9 million to the repair of US Highway 45. The well-worn road will receive a much-needed resurfacing near the communities of Stonefort and Eldorado.

Previous state funded construction efforts took place near Crainville, with $24.1 million for the interchange of Route 13 and Wolf Creek Road as well as $700,000 for construction of a new 50-bed facility addition to the Anna Veterans’ Home. A total of $1.5 billion has been allocated for projects for infrastructure, higher education funding and economic development plans in the area.

“Some areas of my district were hit hardest by the economic downturn, but we still see a lot of tourism for our natural resources as well as visitors to Southern Illinois University,” Forby said. “As a result of these upcoming construction projects, the infrastructure in our neck of the woods gets a much needed upgrade that will put people to work and go a long way to ensure travelers a pleasant experience while in Southern Illinois.”

 

Sullivan, Hammond: Friends of agriculture

Published: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 11:00 AM

Illinois Farm Bureau representative Ryan Corey, Hammond and Sullivan pose with the IFB’s Friend of Agriculture Award during Smiles Day in Rushville.

RUSHVILLE – The Illinois Farm Bureau awarded State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) and State Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) the Friend of Agriculture Award for their continued support of Illinois' farming community.

Local farm bureau trustees chose Sullivan and Hammond for the award based on their strong voting records and their support of legislation that significantly improves Illinois agriculture.

"As a farmer himself, Senator Sullivan has been a tremendous voice, leader and advocate for agriculture in the state of Illinois. His work ethic in Springfield is a true reflection of the hard working men and women of his rural district," IFB's Director of State Legislation Kevin Semlow said. "Representative Hammond has also worked diligently on many important issues to the farming community, and she has proven herself very valuable to the agriculture industry."

"To be recognized as a "Friend of Agriculture" is truly gratifying – especially knowing the decision was made by local county Farm Bureau leaders and members," said Sullivan. "I'm grateful to receive this award."

"It is an incredible honor to receive this award. Illinois farmers work tirelessly to provide their products to consumers across the globe. They deserve our support," Hammond said.

The IFB presented both lawmakers the award during Rushville's homecoming celebration, Smiles Day, on Friday.

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