When the City of Hannibal officially declared support for veterans and Purple Heart recipients on Tuesday, one hometown hero was present in city council chambers. Steve Smith of Hannibal said he was not aware of the Purple Heart proclamation when he came to the council meeting. He had come as part of his duties as a board member of the Hannibal Board of Public Works.

As Mayor Hark, Commander John Dismer and Bryce Lockwood of the Purple Heart Department of Missouri began the presentation, the call went out for any medal recipients in the audience to come forward. Smith joined them as the proclamation was read.

Smith served in the US Army in Vietnam and received a Purple Heart after being injured by a mortar in the Cambodia Campaign of 1970. Smith says even though he suffered shrapnel wounds to his back, he healed quickly and went right back to the field. He was a scout dog handler, walking point for the infantry. The dogs were trained to alert on enemy personnel, booby traps, and land mines. He says through their efforts, a lot of lives were saved. He lost a dog in combat and left a dog behind.

Steve Smith says he is glad to see the nation’s appreciation for military personnel now compared to how some veterans were treated after returning from the Vietnam conflict.

The Purple Heart is given to members of the armed forces who are either wounded or killed in combat. About 50 percent are awarded posthumously.. The Purple Heart City designation is a reminder of the gratitude owed to our brave service men and women.

Hannibal joins 162 cities and 58 counties in Missouri that have the Purple Heart designation.  Missouri is also designated a Purple Heart State.

In other business:

  • First Reading was given to a Bill adopting the City Property Tax Levy for 2018: The proposed rate is $1.2055 per $100 of assessed value, unchanged from 2017. Finance Director Karen Burditt shared numbers with the council showing 2018 total property values in Hannibal increased over $12 million compared to 2017.  Of that $12 million, over $10 million was due to new construction and improvements.
  • A Service Agreement is approved for Kids in Motion/Teens in Motion which will authorize a payment to the organization of $7500.
  • A Resolution is approved authorizing up to $4800 in engineering fees for design of structural steel framing for the Hannibal Aquatic Center.  Parks and Rec Director Andy Dorian told the council the pool is leaking a significant amount of water and the work is needed to eliminate the water loss.
  • A Resolution conveying a city-owned strip of land to Lois Schneider for $1 plus recording fees is approved.  The land is adjacent to Schneider's home at 416 Lake Apollo.
  • First Reading was given to a Bill vacating a portion of an alley near Darr and Singleton Streets.  William and Rachel Allen at 1605 Darr requested the change due to an existing garage that makes the alley impassable.  The Allens were under the impression the alley was already vacated when the garage was built a number of years ago.