Wednesday, January 14, 2015

HONORS FOR A HOMETOWN HERO

Note: The following info is also available (with some photos) on the Genealogy Room Blog.

Medal Presentation for ALVIN T. SMITH
Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 1 pm.
Soldiers Memorial
1315 Chestnut Street, St. Louis, MO 63103

Alvin T. Smith was one of 2,753 St. Louisans who made the supreme sacrifice in WWII. His name is in the Court of Honor at Soldiers Memorial. Alvin T. Smith's name is on the west wall, second panel from the south.

The nonprofit organization Purple Hearts Reunited will be presenting a military medal that belonged to PFC Alvin T. Smith to the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum in St. Louis, MO. On 17 January 2015, at 1:00pm, a ceremony, led by Purple Hearts Reunited founder Zachariah Fike, will honor PFC Smith’s service and sacrifice. The museum is located at 1315 Chestnut Street, St. Louis, MO 63101, and the ceremony will be open to the public and media. Alvin T. Smith was born on 21 November 1921 in St. Louis, MO to Thomas and Virginia Smith. On 30 November 1942, he enlisted in the Army at Jefferson Barracks, MO. During World War II, Smith served in the Army with Company L, 168th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division. The young soldier was killed in action during defensive operations at Anzio Beach Head, Italy on 02 May 1944. He was awarded a Purple Heart posthumously and is buried in Zion Cemetery, St. Louis, MO. PFC Smith’s additional decorations include the Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal w/ Campaign Star, World War II Victory Medal, and Combat Infantry Badge.

PFC Smith’s Purple Heart medal was discovered in a recycling bin at a Sherman, TX apartment complex. Mrs. Juli Whittaker, a member of the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy and the operator of Genealogy Safari was able to track down PFC Smith’s nephew, Mr. Jim Brueggenjohan. Whittaker submitted a report about the lost medal to Purple Hearts Reunited, and the organization contacted Brueggenjohan. Brueggenjohan explained that PFC Smith had a son, who adopted the name Alvin Thomas Brinkman, and had passed away in TX. Brueggenjohan and family requested that Purple Hearts Reunited find a home of honor for the medal in PFC Smith’s hometown of St. Louis, MO.

The Soldiers Memorial Military Museum in St. Louis will accept and display PFC Smith’s medal. Dr. Lynnea Magnuson, Superintendent of the Museum, will receive the framed medal from Fike at the end of a public ceremony. Purple Hearts Reunited, founded by combat-wounded veteran Zachariah Fike, works to return lost or stolen military medals of valor in order to veterans or their families in order to honor their sacrifice to the nation. The organization is funded by donations and has returned medals to more than 100 military families and museums to date.

No comments: