Local park dedicated to fallen heroes

Park formerly "no-name" park

Two Treasure Coast men who died fighting in Vietnam received a special "welcome home" today, more than four decades later.

 

Private Richard Smith, Jr and Private Larry Turner volunteered to serve our country.

 

"He was like a take charge person, he was a good person," recalls sister Robbie Ann Turner.

 

They both died as young men in Vietnam.  Smith was 19, Turner 22.

 

Monday, a park in Stuart off Martin Luther King Boulevard was named "Smith-Turner Park" in their honor.

Rana Mae Smith lives not far from where her son is now remembered.

 

"The last time that I saw him wave his hand in West Palm Beach he got on the plane and said "Mother take care, I'm going to do the best I can,'" she recalled.

 

Smith's son Vernell also joined the Army.

 

"By God's grace they sent me to Fort Hood, Texas and that's where my Daddy was deployed from."

 

Family members waited years for this honor to happen. The city realized it needed to do something.

 

"First, there's the importance to the family and there's also importance to all Vietnam Veterans that they need to be welcomed home," said Stuart Mayor Troy McDonald.

 

Not lost on those in attendance that this is a tribute to the contributions of local African-American soldiers who gave their all.

 

"It just makes you feel real good that you can look up and see your loved one's name," said Vivian Powell, Larry Turner's sister.

 

 


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