The family of a deceased southern Missouri veteran will be presented with his military service medals during a Fourth of July event in Salem.

Missouri Congressman Jason Smith visits the non-profit Parkland Hope Center in Park Hills in February 2019 (file photo courtesy of Congressman Smith’s office)

U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, will be presenting the medals to Deck Hall’s family members. Smith says the family contacted his office, seeking assistance.

“Well it’s a great honor whenever we are able to track down the medals and awards for our veterans who never received them or they may have lost them,” Smith says.

Congressman Smith tells Missourinet the late Deck Hall earned the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge.

Tonight’s presentation will take place at the Dent County Courthouse, just before the Fourth of July fireworks display.

The Salem event is one of several celebrations Congressman Smith will be attending today across his sprawling district, which contains 30 counties in southeast and south-central Missouri.

One of the most popular Fourth of July celebrations in southeast Missouri takes place in the small town of Oran, which is south of Cape Girardeau.

Today’s 108th Oran picnic includes music and fireworks. Congressman Smith will be attending the event, meeting with constituents about various issues. He says he frequently receives questions from constituents about Social Security issues and veterans benefits.

“You know southeast Missouri is all about God, country and family, and the Oran picnic is a prime example,” says Smith.

The event includes a buffet-style dinner at the Guardian Angel Knights of Columbus Hall. Fr. Randy, the church pastor, tells Missourinet they expect to feed about 1,000 people at today’s dinner, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Congressman Smith agrees with the late Congressman Bill Emerson: the Oran Fourth of July picnic has the best fried chicken anywhere in the world. He says the event is fun for all ages.

“This is the 108th annual Oran picnic. You can find horseshoe tournaments, cornhole, music, fireworks, wagon rides,” Smith says.

The dinner also includes roast beef and numerous desserts.

Congressman Smith will also travel to Poplar Bluff today and to the small town of Ellington, which is in Reynolds County. Smith will recognize the Ellington Whippet baseball team for that school’s first state championship in any sport.

Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s full interview with U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, which was recorded on July 2, 2019:

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