HONORING VALOR: Local DAR chapter presents Quilt of Valor to retired Natchez veteran

Published 9:21 am Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

NATCHEZ — The Natchez chapter of the NS Daughters of the American Revolution presented a Quilt of Valor to Lt. Col. Lawrence Smith this week.

The Quilts of Valor Foundation has presented almost 400,000 quilts to service members and veterans.

The presentation was made at the Miss-Lou Military Museum on Jefferson Davis Boulevard, founded by veteran Mark LaFrancis, who nominated Smith for the honor.

Email newsletter signup

Deborah Springer and Juliette Cassagne of the local DAR chapter presented the quilt to Smith in front of about 20 DAR members.

Smith served almost three decades in the U.S. Army from Cold War Europe in the 1980s to the Global War on Terror in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.

Smith grew up along the Mississippi River in Savanna, Illinois. He attended Illinois State University and later the University of Texas at Austin. He has another graduate degree from the University of Madras in India.

From private to sergeant to company and field grade officer, Larry served in several Army specialties, including Military Police, Chemical Corps, Air Defense, and Military Intelligence, assigned to storied units like the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and the 4th Infantry Division.

He spent his last decade as a Foreign Area Officer, a South Asia regional intelligence and security expert. He served a tour in Kathmandu, Nepal, as Chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation, during the Himalayan kingdom’s counterinsurgency against the Maoist guerillas. His last tour of duty was as the US Defense Attaché at the US Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka, during the bloody culmination of the 30-year war between the government and the terrorist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, as well as the peaceful transition in the Maldives from three decades of a one-party authoritarian regime to a multi-party democracy.

Smith and his wife Jackie moved to Natchez during the Covid pandemic. They own a small business that manufactures chrome polish and have rental property. They have two grown children, a son Zachary, a veteran Green Beret with combat service in Iraq, who is now a doctor at Stanford University Hospital in Palo Alto, California, and a daughter Grace, who is a contracts and budgets manager for a medical research company in Columbus, Ohio. Larry and Jackie have two grandchildren, Benjamin, 10, and Liliana, 3.