Honorable Mention

Through the years, we have been blessed to have wonderful hard working volunteers. Last  November was no exception, and we’d like to tell you about just a few.

Brian & Amy

Brian & Amy

Amy and Brian Hauge of Ridgeway, and Nancy and Harold Parisot, of Branson  were among those who came each day to sweep, empty trash, pop popcorn, make coffee, tea, and serve all those wonderful snacks.  It was a year when we were a bit short handed; and their energy, attitude and dedication in serving our veterans was awesome.



Carol and Ken Slawson

Carol and Ken Slawson

Carol and Ken Slawson, as representatives of their church brought and entire day of snacks and beverages for our Day Room Veterans.  How fortunate we all were that their church considered the Day Room worthy of  such support.




One of our AmeriCorps Team

The team members of the AmeriCorps Volunteers were absolutely vital to getting our room ready last November.  Their spirit, their energy,  and their attitude of appreciation at being able to serve our Veterans left us all feeling the blessings of their presence.


Thoughts turn to the Day Room

It’s been too long since my last post. But each year we feel the necessity to wait until official word comes, releasing confirmation of the location. I spoke with Branson Veterans Task Force yesterday and learned that the Day Room once again will be in the Red Roof location.

We appreciate so much the City of Branson for the use of these facilities during Veterans Week.   It’s always a good thing when we can return to the facility we’ve  used before, make setting things up a little easier

The Task Force is not quite ready to announce who will be hosting the Day Room this year, but we are looking forward to being there to experience the room as we always have, and we are looking forward to seeing each and every one of you.

We’re almost ready?

GetAttachment (3)Volunteers are busy seeing  to every little detail that will make the room the best that it can be…………  But honestly the Day Room will not be complete until you get here.

Don’t forget to bring your instruments to join in the jam sessions.

There are incredible prizes; there’s probably a snack or two around, and the coffee is always on.    Can’t wait to see ya’ll.       GetAttachment (2)

Veterans Memorial Museum

We are so pleased to let you know that the Veterans Memorial Museum has reopened.   As reported in a prior post, there were some larger  items that were sold at auction earlier this year, however, as we understand it,  the bulk of items remain and the  museum is now open and looking forward Veteran’s Week.

This is where it begins

gunnar - Copy

It is  5 o’clock and for those of you that live on or around a military base, you know what that means.   This young man goes outside to salute the playing of the national anthem.  He salutes because his Dad salutes and he does EVERYTHING, EXACTLY as Dad does.

On every military base, at 5 o’clock retreat is sounded and immediately after that  the National Anthem begins.
Even on  the playgrounds you will see EVERY child stop playing and put their hand on their hearts.  Many of the little boys salute because they see their daddies do it.  All cars stop driving, golfers stop golfing, no one gets on or off base when retreat
starts and until the Anthem is over.

Even in Branson at our Day Room Retreat we learn that                   This is where patriotism begins. They watch and they learn!           








Paul & Carol's Day Room 2012 002The City of Branson has once again come through for us.  The Day Room, Veterans Walls of Heroes, Vendor Village, and the Mess Hall will be back at the Red Roof again for this year.  Veterans Homecoming is November, 5th – November 11th.   It is our understanding that the building numbers will change but we are thrilled to be at a great location, with plenty of space and adequate parking.  Put the dates on you calendar right now.   We’ll be looking forward to seeing you.

Be sure to check out all our pages, but especially the Schedule of Events.  It’s a “work in progress” right now but check back often to see what is being scheduled for you.

Veteran’s hearts are saddened

This is another article just published in the Branson Tri-lakes News  today.

“Veterans Memorial Museum, which houses thousands of artifacts from World War I to the Persian Gulf War, as well as several large bronze statues, is set to close next month, and a portion of the collection will go up for sale a few days later.

Zac Holoch, spokesperson for Nebraska-based Cornerstone Bank, which owns a portion of collection, said the museum’s last day of business will be Aug. 14  and the auction is scheduled for Aug. 21. Cornerstone’s portion of the collection is valued at $20 million.

“We are still looking to find someone to buy the museum as a whole,” Holoch said. “That’s what we’d really like to have happen and keep it as a museum. We don’t want to shut it down; we think it’s important for Branson.”

Holoch said the decision to auction the collection was made last week.

“What we’re thinking is going to happen is someone is going to come forward and buy it, and it will basically be reopened under new ownership, or we’ll be forced to piecemeal it off and, consequently, it’s going to be shut down,” he said.

The hallmark of the museum is a 50-man bronze sculpture that spans 70 feet and weighs 15 tons and depicts soldiers storming a beach. David Barkhoff, the auction organizer with Heritage Global Partners, said each man is sculpted after an individual from every U.S. state.

Barkhoff declined to disclose the assessed value of the piece. The sculpture is just one of many pieces the bank owns and will auction.

Cornerstone Bank gained ownership of the collection in late 2011 from founder Fred Hoppe, but Holoch declined to comment on how the bank came into ownership.

The auction will be in bulk, offering an opportunity for the collection to stay together.

“Some of the artifacts tell a story about a specific war hero, and we want to keep that together,” Barkhoff said.

Such artifacts may be clothing, weapons or personal belongings.

Barkhoff said it’s hard to estimate whether the items will be purchased individually or in bulk.

“We’re preparing ourselves for both outcomes,” he said.

The auction will be broadcast to buyers all around the world via webcast technology, Barkhoff said.

The open preview is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 19-20 at the museum on 76 Country Boulevard. The auction is set to start at 10 a.m. Aug. 21 at the Branson Convention Center, Barkhoff said.

June Tillis, museum manager and a 10-year employee, said she found out about the museum closing this past Friday.

“Well, we’ve known for 2-1/2 years that Cornerstone Bank wanted to do something with the exhibits,” she said. “It’s not a surprise.

“I’m saddened that it’s the end of a great exhibit here in Branson.”

Tillis is remaining optimistic  the museum could reopen after the auction.

“(Cornerstone Bank) owns about 40 percent (of the exhibits),” Tillis said. “I hope that (Hoppe) can maybe get it reopened because it’s a great location. He knows a lot of collectors and he may be able to put together a fabulous museum again after the auction.”

As for the remainder of the museum’s time in Branson, Tillis said she hopes it will be spent full of first-time visitors.

“I want to encourage everyone that hasn’t had a chance to see the museum to come out in the next few weeks,” she said. “People that live in the area have these wonderful museums nearby and they should go check them out.”


Branson Veterans Task Force returns HOME

Honoring America's Veterans Every Day

Honoring America’s Veterans Every Day

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.


John Wlliam Long

John William Long

John William Long
Retired Army Sargent First Class, John William Long, age 76 of Strafford Mo., passed away peacefully with his loving Family by his side to be with his Lord Jesus Christ, March 15, 2013, after a lengthy illness.
John was born in Ashland, Pennsylvania April 28-1936 to John, and Flaura Long. He embraced the Lord at a very early age. John was a member of the Mt. Carmel High School class of 1954. Upon graduation, John and 2 of his best High School Friends, all enlisted in the U.S. Military. They did this in part, because to stay in Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania, at this time, meant an almost certain lifetime of Coalmining, the only real jobs available in the area. John selected the United States ARMY, and his friends each joined other branches of the service.
He retired from the U S Army at Ft. Leavenworth Kansas as a Sargent First Class with 20 years of military service having been stationed, or served tours in Ft. Jackson South Carolina, Ft. Lee,
Virginia, Neu Ostheim, Germany, Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, Pusan, Korea, Ft. Belvoir , Virginia again, Pirmasens, Germany, Ft. Lee, Virginia again, Cam Ranh Bay,Vietnam, , Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, Camp Samea San, Thailand, Wurtzburg Germany, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He was awarded numerous Awards, Decorations and Medals.
After retiring from the Army, John began another career as a Purchasing Agent working for Fire Master Fire Apparatus, which he did for 24 years. John met the love of his life Maria while stationed in Germany. The Lord blessed them with a loving daughter Maria Erika and son David Roy Long. They celebrated their 55th Wedding Anniversary with a Cruise to Alaska in 2012.
John was preceded in death by his beloved daughter Maria Erika. Besides the love of his life Maria, John is survived by his loving son David Roy Long of Strafford, dearly loved Granddaughter Krystal Alexis Long of Springfield, brother-in-law Ludwig Merz of Germany, Sister Joan Mazari, of Colorado, Loving Brother Robert and wife Teruko of Colorado, Brother Raymond Long of Pennsylvania and numerous nephews and nieces. Special Friends, Wayne Bumgarner, Larry Jacobs, Ronald Quinn, George Bass, and, Jim Gartner, and many dear friends, too numerous to mention. John is also survived by his loving and faithful family dog, Shelby.
John loved his military career, and continued his devotion to the military, and its’ veterans, with Life memberships, and service, in both, the VFW Post 7214, and the Vietnam Veterans Association 952, of Springfield Mo. During the years, John missed very few functions, and a proud moment, for he and his family came at the 2012, Fourth of July Parade, in Strafford, when the VFW selected him to serve as Grand Marshall. John will be sorely missed by his family, friends, church, community, and his dog. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, and friend. He was a human being of the first degree, and all who knew him, will grieve his passing.
John loved his Lord, and was a member of the Strafford United Methodist Church, where he held many different positions, and worked to help the church, any way he could. John was active in his community, and he served the fledgling Strafford volunteer fire department as chief, for 9 years. He and the department were recognized in “Springfield” Magazine, in 1983.
Viewing will be at Day Funeral Home in Marshfield MO. on Sunday March 17th from 2 pm to 4 pm. The funeral will be held at the Strafford United Methodist Church, his home Church in Strafford Mo., at 12 pm, a small dinner will be held for guests, beforehand starting at 11 am. Rev. Gene Nicholson, and Rev. John Inman will officiate the service. Burial will be at Waynesville Memorial Cemetary in Waynesville Mo. with full Military Honors.
In lieu of flowers the family asks to donate to the United Methodist church of Strafford, theVeterans Organization of your choice, or MERCY HOSPICE.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Somewhere my Love, we will meet again.
Your loving wife, MARIA
Published in the News-Leader on March 17, 2013

Best Wishes to You & Yours

We could not let the season pass without wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy and Prosperous New Year…….. and share with you a few of our special memories from 2012.