Village honors young war hero

MOUNT MORRIS – The village has given a local Purple Heart recipient a hero’s welcome home.

Army 1st Lt. Nicholas Smith, 25, a military intelligence officer, returned home from Afghanistan on Dec. 23, just in time to spend Christmas with his parents, Ron and Amy Smith of Mount Morris.

Thursday, the Village Board and the Mount Morris American Legion issued a joint proclamation, thanking Smith for his service.

“... I extend to you on behalf of the Village of Mount Morris and Mount Morris American Legion Post 143, our personal thanks and appreciation for your contribution of honorable service to country in Afghanistan ... with your devotion to duty and the spirit of sacrifice, you have carried with you the proud tradition of this country and its military service. ...” Doug Wean, adjutant of the legion post, read from the proclamation.

Wean also presented Smith with a plaque.

“I appreciate all the support I’ve received from everyone back home,” Smith said.

Smith was awarded a Purple Heart after he was wounded in the back and head when a vehicle he was riding in struck an improvised explosive device. He spent 2 weeks in the hospital, then returned to duty. He spent 9 months in Afghanistan, returning to the U.S. on Dec. 9.

The 2006 Oregon High School graduate joined the Army through ROTC while attending Western Illinois University in Macomb. He was commissioned in 2011.

When his leave is over, he will return to Fort Lewis, Wash., where he is permanently stationed.