Photo: Presenting award are Tracy Hentschel, Americanism, committee chair, and Elk Member Kevin McCutcheon.

Hickory – On June 14, 2023, the Hickory Elks Lodge 1654 recognizes Capt Don Smith for exemplifying the tenets of DUTY-HONOR-COUNTRY in selfless service to our nation and community. Joining the United States Marine Corps in 1951, Don was assigned to the 1st Marine Division and participated in combat operations in the Republic of Korea. He then served in a variety of duties, to include the Honor Guard to President Eisenhower, Platoon Sergeant, Recruiter and Drill Instructor. As a Gunnery Sergeant, he again deployed to combat operations, this time in the Republic of Vietnam, where he received a commission to 2nd Lieutenant.

Following retirement from military service, Capt Smith followed his motto that, “if you rest, you rust,” returning to North Carolina where he continued to work in the wood and furniture business, and volunteering as a coach for youth football, little league baseball and High School basketball. He has also served his community as the Director for Toys for Tots, as the president of the Marine Corps League and as the Joe Foss Foundation Chairman. Additionally, he orchestrates and participates in countless funerals, flag raising and Color Guard services for our Veterans and the local community. Captain Smith’s actions both as a Marine and as a servant to our community are in keeping with the highest traditions of Naval Service, and he embodies the true spirit of Americanism and Patriotism, bringing great credit upon himself, his family, his community, the United States Marine Corps and the United States of America.