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Branson to Host 2019 National Convention of the Military Order of the Purple Heart

January 11, 2017

The Military Order of the Purple Heart has chosen Branson, Missouri as the host site for the "2019 Military Order of the Purple Heart and 86th Ladies Auxiliary National Conventions." John Bircher, National Public Relations Director for the Military Order of the Purple Heart said, "For eight years Branson has hosted the Branson.Com Honors Purple Heart Recipients and we have appreciated the respect and warm welcome we have received. We chose Branson to host the 2019 'Military Order of the Purple Heart and Ladies Auxiliary National Conventions' because we wanted to be able to share that with all the Purple Heart Recipients so that they could experience, first hand, the love in Branson for Veterans in general, and Purple Heart Recipients in particular."

"We are just so thrilled and honored that the Military Order of the Purple Heart and their members feel the way they do about Branson and have chosen to host their 2019 National Convention in Branson," said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. It is anticipated that over 400 people will attend the seven day convention scheduled to be held July 21 through July 27, 2019.


In Honor of National POW/MIA Remembrance Day

September 16, 2016

In honor of today being National POW/MIA Remembrance Day we have set up a 'Missing Man' table in our lobby. Each item on the remembrance table has a special meaning. Please take a moment to read this and say a prayer for our fallen and missing heroes and their families.

Missing Man table

"Missing Man" table in our lobby

POW/MIA Remembrance Table

The table is set for one -- to symbolize the fact that members of our armed forces are missing from our ranks. They are referred to as POWs/MIAs. We call them comrades. They are unable to be with their loved ones and families so we join together to pay our humble tribute to them and bear witness to their continued absence.

The table is round -- to show our everlasting concern for our missing men.

The tablecloth is white -- symbolizing the purity of their motives and the willing response when answering the call to duty.

The single red rose, displayed in a vase -- to remind us of the life of each of the missing, and the loved ones and friends of these Americans forever left behind.

The red ribbon -- what we still wear to bear witness as we unceasingly demand a proper accounting for those who are still missing and unaccounted for.

A slice of lemon on the plate -- to keep us mindful of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land.

A pinch of salt -- to symbolize the river of tears shed by families and loved ones.

The Bible -- to represent the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.

The glass -- inverted to symbolize their inability to share this evening's toast.

The candle -- reminiscent of the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate the way home to the open arms of a grateful nation.

The chair is empty because you are not here to sit with us tonight. Our lives are incomplete because you are not here to be with us tonight.

You were there for us... we are still here for you. In honoring you... each of you... all of you... we stand silently and face your table. We stand silently in your absence...

Let us now raise our water glasses in a toast to honor America's POW/MIAs and our efforts to account for them.


A Recap of the 2016 Branson.com Honors Purple Heart Event

July 1, 2016

The 2016 Branson.com Honors Purple Heart Event roared to life on April 21 with a motorcycle run coordinated by Taney County Sherriff, Jimmy Russell. Twelve riders participated this year and more are expected for 2017. Later that evening, at the Opening Ceremony held at the Starlite Theatre, some truly fantastic Branson entertainers kicked off the event that first night including Billy Dean and Jarrett Dougherty as Masters of Ceremony, AYO Voices of Glory, #1 Hits of the 60's and 50's Too, and The Blackwoods. Opening statements were given by Robert Puskar, National Commander of MOPH and Branson High School's Air Force Junior ROTC Color Guard, under the instruction of Colonel (Ret.) David Burke, was there to post the Colors. Everett Kelly, Region II Commander of MOPH, led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Opening Prayer was led by Jimmy Young, past National Chaplain of MOPH. Finishing out the night, Billy Dean performed a concert for the Veterans, their guests, and Branson visitors.

First Place Jimmy Young

On the second day of this special event, 47 adventurous fishermen, all Purple Heart Recipients, participated in the annual fishing tournament hosted by Scotty's Trout Dock on Lake Taneycomo. First Place went to Jimmy Young, 2nd to Carl Kidder, 3rd to Tony Serna, 4th to Eustice Shriver and in a tie for 5th were Gordon Brenner and Herbert Kent.

Non-fishermen and guests were treated to an excursion to two Branson wineries, Mount Pleasant and Stone Hill, shopping and lunch at the Branson Craft Mall, and a visit to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall.

The visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall replica at Welk Resorts in Branson was an emotional experience for our Veterans. The exuberance that had been onboard the bus to get there was replaced with a quiet reverence as the Purple Heart recipients and their guests approached. Some knelt at the wall, viewing names of those they served with, while others gathered together and shared a quiet story or two. Many expressed their gratitude to Welk Resorts for allowing them the opportunity to remember the more than 58,000 American souls represented on the memorial.

Later that afternoon, participants were offered a chance to listen to guest speaker Ted Knox, a U. S. Navy Corpsman who, while serving as a U. S. Marine Medic in Vietnam, was wounded while giving aide under fire. The night wrapped up with a delectable plated dinner followed by dancing, complete with DJ, at the Radisson Hotel.

Purple Heart Dinner Purple Heart Dancing

The closing ceremony was also held at the Starlite Theatre with Dave Hamner, of Hamner's Unbelievable Variety Show, as the Master of Ceremonies. Frank Van Hoy, National Service Director of MOPH, led the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by Carl Dietrich, Past Commander, Department of Missouri MOPH, with the Opening Prayer. Performances started off with The Haygoods singing the National Anthem, Barbara Fairchild and Roy Morris, All Hands on Deck, Johnny Cash from Legends In Concert, and finishing things out were The Blackwoods and a video tribute by The Texas Tenors. Larry and Lianne Milton, Founders and Board Members of Branson Tourism Center and Branson.com, delivered the closing remarks. The ceremony came to a close with the Branson High School Air Force Junior ROTC Color Guard, under the instruction of Colonel (Ret.) David Burke, retiring the Colors. The 8th Annual Purple Heart event was concluded with a special performance by the legendary Gene Watson.

We would like to mention the wonderful vendors that took part in the Vendor Village at the Radisson Hotel: Wounded Warrior Family Support, KIA, Quilts of Honor, Infidel Lures, Purple Heart Riders, and Mary Shantag with POW Network. Special thanks goes out to Jimmy Russell for taking time out of his very crazy day to lead the Purple Heart recipients on the motorcycle ride, never asking for anything in return and showing them all such honor and respect. Also, a big "thank you" to Lamar Patten with Scotty's Trout Dock for providing all of the boats, equipment and fishing licenses for Purple Heart recipients and to all of the tournament captains for making this such a memorable event.

We are extremely excited about 2017's event, taking place April 20-22, and look forward to a record year with the Purple Heart Riders attending. Although early registration is encouraged, Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center, the parent company of Branson.com, points out that there is no closing time for the registration of Purple Hear Recipients. "If you are a Purple Heart Recipient, this is your event and we want you there whenever you register," she said. For further information on the 9th Annual Branson.com Honors Purple Heart Recipients please call 1-800-268-4014. All events are free to Purple Heart Recipients.


Decorated Vietnam War Veteran Oliver North to speak at dedication of The Missouri Vietnam Veterans Memorial

April 6, 2015

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. - More than 1,400 servicemen and women from the state of Missouri gave their lives during the Vietnam War. The fallen will be honored through an official Missouri memorial on the campus of College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri.

The dedication of the memorial will take place at the College on Wednesday, April 22, 2015, at 2:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

The purpose of the memorial is to honor the fallen and properly thank Vietnam War Veterans for their sacrifice and bravery. The memorial is being constructed by staff and students and will stand near the College's entrance.

"We are honored to build this memorial on our campus," said College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis. "The fallen and their families, along with the Vietnam Veterans, deserve a proper thank you. We hope family members and those in communities across the state will join us for this sacred occasion."

Dedication ceremony

The speaker for the ceremony is former U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North. A decorated Vietnam War Veteran, North serves as host of the FOX News Channel documentary series "War Stories with Oliver North." He is not only a combat-decorated Marine, but he is a #1 best-selling author, inventor, business owner and syndicated columnist. North has previously served as a convocation speaker at the College of the Ozarks.

The ceremony will begin with The Call of Remembrance, the music of a single bagpiper playing "Amazing Grace." Walls containing the names of the fallen will be unveiled and wreaths placed on them by dignitaries. A 21-gun salute will further honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Alumnus and Vietnam Veteran General Terrence R. Dake will address those gathered.

"Kindergarteners from the S. Truett Cathy Lower School will place roses in front of the statue of Vietnam Veterans to commemorate the living," said Dean of Character Education Sue Head. "We want our younger students to understand the service and sacrifice of those who went to Vietnam."

Additional special observances, musical numbers from the College's choir, and opportunities for prayer and reflection are planned as part of the service.

At the end of the ceremony, family members of the fallen, and others wishing to show their respect, will place single roses at the base of the walls. The roses will be provided for those in attendance.

A reception for all those in attendance will be held immediately upon completion of the dedication ceremony at The Keeter Center on the College of the Ozarks campus.

Honoring the fallen

Names of the fallen Missouri servicemen and women are provided via the following link to the U.S. Military Fatal Casualties of the Vietnam War, available through the National Archives and prepared by the Secretary of Defense: http://www.archives.gov/research/military/vietnam-war/casualty-lists/mo-alpha.pdf Families of the fallen are urged to call the College at (417) 690-2212 to share their information. They will be recognized with special observances during the ceremony.

These names will be carved into slabs of granite, immortalized on a divided wall which is the focal point of the memorial. The division of the wall represents the divide that separated the country during this conflict.

In between the two walls will stand a statue of Vietnam Veterans, representing those who served in Vietnam and returned home to live the rest of their lives with memories of war. A flower bed in the shape of the letter "V" for valor will display red flowers, representing the blood shed by servicemen and women.

The memorial was designed by Austin Meyer, a 2014 College of the Ozarks graduate.

More about Oliver North

Former U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North was born in San Antonio, Texas, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and served 22 years as a Marine officer. During the Vietnam War, he led a counter-insurgency Marines platoon. His awards for service in combat include the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for valor, and two Purple Hearts for wounds in combat.

Assigned to the National Security Council staff in the Reagan Administration, North was involved in planning the rescue of 804 medical students on the island of Grenada and played a major role in the capture of the hijackers of the cruise ship Achille Lauro. After helping plan the U.S. raid on Muammar Qaddafi's terror bases in Libya, North was targeted for assassination by Abu Nidal, the infamous terrorist killed in Baghdad in August, 2002.

President Ronald Reagan described North as "an American hero."

Since 2001, he has been the host of "War Stories" - the award-winning military documentary series on Fox News Channel - and has been embedded with more than 55 U.S. and allied combat units. North has authored thirteen books, all of them New York Times best sellers. His latest, Heroes Proved, is a gripping tale of intrigue and duplicity at the highest levels of the U.S. Government.

In addition to his work on FOX News Channel, North also serves as the honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance, the conservative public policy organization he founded in 1990. Freedom Alliance provides tuition assistance to dependents of troops killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Freedom Alliance also provides support to members of the armed forces who have been wounded in the line of duty, those currently serving on the front lines, and their families.

For more information, call the public relations department at (417) 690-2212 or visit www.cofo.edu


AAMCO to launch "50 Cars in 50 States" program to provide auto repair service to combat veterans and their families.

August 16, 2012

HORSHAM, Pa., April 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —

AAMCO, the world’s largest chain of transmission specialists, is celebrating 50 years, and to mark the occasion is collaborating with the Military Order of the Purple Heart to repair 50 Cars in 50 States. Also, one selected family will win a new car.

“Turning 50 is a tremendous milestone for AAMCO and a great opportunity to give back to the communities in which we operate,” said Marc Graham, Chairman & CEO of AAMCO Transmissions, Inc. “In these times of national conflict, I can’t think of a more deserving and appropriate group to work with than America’s wounded veterans and their families.”

In celebration of its 50th anniversary in 2012, AAMCO is launching the 50 Cars in 50 States campaign with the charitable partnership. The Military Order of the Purple Heart and AAMCO will select a veteran in each state to receive free auto repairs, at a local participating AAMCO dealer location. 50 Cars in 50 States will launch this summer and will run through the end of the year until repairs are complete. Additionally, one deserving veteran and their family will receive a brand new car. Details of the individuals and families selected for the promotion will be announced at a future date.

“Our AAMCO dealers are proud to give back their time by conducting complimentary vehicle repairs for members of such a worthy and esteemed military veteran organization,” said Mike Ganjei, chairman of the AAMCO National Creative Committee and president of the National AAMCO Dealers Association.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart serves the needs of its 43,000 members, all of which are combat-wounded veterans who have received the Purple Heart Medal. It also provides free services to all veterans to assist with Veterans Affairs claims, homelessness and employment opportunities.

There are nearly 4,000 new Purple Heart recipients returning home from the War on Terror, and many of those vets are in need of a properly functioning and safe vehicle.

“We are thrilled to be working with AAMCO on their anniversary campaign,” said John P. Leonard, National Adjunct at the Military Order of the Purple Heart. “America’s combat-wounded veterans and their families appreciate support and acknowledgement from programs like 50 Cars in 50 States, especially at a time when the Federal government can provide only limited funds on car repairs.”

About AAMCO
AAMCO is the world’s largest chain of transmission specialists and one of the leaders in complete car care services. AAMCO has over 800 automotive centers throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Established in 1962, AAMCO centers are proud to have served more than 45 million drivers. For more information, visit AAMCO.com.

About the Military Order of the Purple Heart
The organization now known as the “Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. Inc.,” (MOPH) was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all who have received the decoration. Chartered by the Congress, The MOPH is unique among Veteran Service Organizations in that all its members were wounded in combat. For this sacrifice, they were awarded the Purple Heart Medal. With grants from the MOPH Service Foundation, the MOPH and its Ladies Auxiliary promote Patriotism, Fraternalism, and the Preservation of America’s military history. Most importantly, they provide comfort and assistance to all Veterans and their families, especially those requiring claims assistance with the VA, those who are homeless, and those requiring employment assistance. Through the VAVS program, MOPH volunteers provide assistance to hospitalized veterans at VA sites and State Veterans Homes.


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