ANNA — In these days of tragic news from across the country, it is inspiring to hear of a selfless action by the country’s younger citizens. Dalton Smith, an eighth-grade student at Anna Middle School was awarded a medal while on a class trip to Washington D.C. Oct. 23-27.
Dalton attends Russell Road Church where he has been involved in many outreach activities.
“I go to TeenServe every summer. It usually takes place in another state, and we just help out people who need it. I also attend Fall Retreat where we live homeless to see what we have that they (homeless) don’t have,” said Dalton.
Dalton participated in reviveOhio::Shelby County, going out to pray for people three out of the six days. He also participated in one day in Allen County.
Dalton’s mom, Stephanie Smith, went on the trip to D.C. as a chaperone and was proud to see her son display kindness and giving throughout their trip.
“While on a stop in Baltimore, he gave our leftover food to a homeless person,” said Stephanie.
Dalton took some of the resources from reviveOhio, five or six Bibles and 10 bracelets, with him on the trip.
“I would give a couple of dollars to a homeless person each day. I would just leave a Bible if they were sleeping,” said Dalton.
Dalton saw a homeless couple while the group waited to go into Ford’s Theatre where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. The man was playing the drums on buckets and trash cans to raise money. The couple was sleeping outside on the heating grates in the city.
“Dalton has a love for music and often doesn’t know a stranger. I had given Dalton $10 and told him that that was all I had left to give him for him to spend, while it was our last full day in D.C., and what I had left was for us to use to get home on. I’d say that upon striking up a conversation with the gentleman and knowing Dalton’s heart, that is what prompted Dalton to give his all to this homeless man. He never muttered another word about money the rest of the trip,” said Stephanie.
Later that day the group visited Mount Vernon where their tour guide had arranged for a friend, Paul Reece, Chief Warrant Officer 3 U.S. Army, from National Defense to speak to the students. Reece was sheriff’s deputy from Piqua and served in two branches of the service.
“Paul had a medal of honor with him and felt Dalton deserved to be recognized. Paul wanted to inspire the students and make his presentation about them and not about his life-story so much. He certainly accomplished this and much more by recognizing Dalton’s actions,” said Cindy Endsley, Anna Middle School principal.
Reece told the students that one day they would come to a ‘T’ in the road and that they would have to decide which way to go.
“He then says before he goes that he has one more thing to take care of and he asks Dalton to come up front. He says that he was made aware that Dalton saw something during the trip that required him to ‘put somebody else’s needs before his own.’ He said that in the military, that is exactly what they do and for this great city you have visited this week, it is what the country is founded on.
“’He said, ‘You saw a situation today, and you accessed it very carefully, but most of all, you did it without saying a word to anyone. You did it with a humble heart. I heard your mother gave you $10 to spend for yourself, and you saw someone else in need, and you quietly gave it to them instead. In the military, we call that holding the line.’ He then presented Dalton with the medal,” relayed Stephanie.
Dalton was awarded the United States of America Department of Defense Hold the Line Award from the U.S. Army Protective Services Battalion.
“I was really nervous when he called my name. It was such an honor to get an award from a man as high up as he is,” said Dalton.
This is Dalton’s first year in the Anna school district, and he is active in football and basketball and will be involved in baseball and track. He will be participating in a mission trip to Guatemala in the summer.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.