The following is an article recently published in the Branson Tri-Lakes News:
“Next week, Branson Veterans Task Force will celebrate a homecoming of its own sorts when it reopens its office in The Falls Shopping Center.
For months, the task force has been without a regular office space and operating the best they could out of a member’s home.
“This is where the task force had their first office,” Chairwoman Brenda Meadows said. “This is a homecoming for us.”
The task force moved from the God and Country Welcome Center on 76 Country Boulevard into the former Factory Merchants Branson mall last year but had to move from that space months ago. Since that time, the nonprofit’s phone line has been set up at board member Barb Riggle’s home, and board meetings have been held at Veterans Memorial Museum.
Meadows said she believes a permanent home will give the task force the steam it is looking for right now. “We are going to go back and gain some real strength because when you are without a home, you are splintered,” Meadows said. “I can’t even tell you how excited I am.”
Meadows said the plan is to set the office up as a command center but give it a homey feel where they can better serve veterans, both locals and visitors.
She said the shopping center owners, Jerry and Jeff Franklin, read about the task force being without a home in a Branson Tri-Lakes News article earlier this year, and they called the task force and told them they could move into a space in The Falls Shopping Center.
“It felt warm and fuzzy because it feels like we are coming home,” Meadows said. With a new space, the task force board will now be looking at ways to gain support and grow.
Meadows, who was named chairwoman this spring, said they are going to start offering memberships again. She said they are working out the details but plan to offer memberships on a donation basis. In exchange for financial support, the task force will list its members on a roster. They are also looking at other ways to reward members.
The task force isn’t done looking for space, though.
Meadows said they are in negotiations with “a couple people” for a place for the task force to hold several of its Veterans Homecoming activities this November. For years, the task force has hosted its day room, vendor village and registration, along with free lunches for veterans by Steve Weyher, at Factory Merchants Branson. The mall officially closed a year ago; however, the city of Branson, which took ownership of it in early 2012, allowed the task force to hold several events at the mall, as well as its day room and vendor village, last November. Meadows said this year, they must find somewhere else to hold those activities.”
The search continues at the present time and we will be posting information as it becomes available to us.