During the Opening Ceremonies for the 6th Annual “Branson.Com Honors Purple Heart Recipients,” held at the Keeter Center of the College of the Ozarks on April 24, 2014, a special presentation was made to the “College of the Ozarks” and the “School of the Ozarks” by the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) designating them as a “Purple Heart College” and a “Purple Heart School.” Everett Kelly, the State Commander, for the Department of Missouri, Military Order of the Purple Heart said that the College of the Ozarks was the first college in Missouri to receive the recognition and that the School of the Ozarks was the first high school in the nation to be so recognized.
Kelley, assisted by John Dismer, the Missouri State Adjutant of MOPH, presented individual plaques and Purple Heart flags to the College of the Ozarks and the School of the Ozarks in commemoration of the occasion. “It’s an honor to recognize the ‘College of the Ozarks’ and ‘School of the Ozarks’ as ‘Purple Heart’ Schools in recognition of their longtime support of the combat wounded and America’s Veterans,” Kelly said in connection with the presentation.
The awards were accepted by Dr. Fred Mullinax, College of the Ozarks Executive Vice President on behalf of the College of the Ozarks and Brad Doloff, Headmaster of the School of the Ozarks, on behalf of the school.Â “We could not be more honored than to be recognized by the ‘Military Order of the Purple Heart’ for our long time support of not only America’s combat wounded, but all of America’s Veterans,” said Dr. Mullinax. “College of the Ozarks and School of the Ozarks becoming Purple Heart Schools fits perfectly into our ‘Patriotic Education” programs, will be an inspiration to our students and is particularly meaningful because it comes from an organization representing the combat wounded who have received the ‘Purple Heart,'” he continued.
In its proclamation the “College of the Ozarks” and “School of the Ozarks” said they had “the utmost respect, gratitude and admiration for all the men and women who have, and are, selflessly serving the United States of America in its Armed Forces” and acknowledged that many men and women in uniform have given their lives and been wounded while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, engaging enemy forces in combat and receiving the Purple Heart Medal as a result of such service and sacrifice. It went on to say that “the College of the Ozarks and School of the Ozarks seeks to recognize and remember those who have received the Purple Heart Medal.”
Prior to the presentation, the Colors were smartly posted by the School of the Ozarks Honor Guard; a beautiful and stirring rendition of the our National Anthem was performed by the College of the Ozarks Choir; the Invocation was given by School of the Ozarks Senior, Lansing Brown and Barbara Fairchild and Roy Morris performed the Armed Forces Medley along with their inspirational and moving performance of “It’s Always Been the Soldier.” After the presentation Ambrus Presley performed a beautiful and touching rendition of “Travelin’ Soldier.”This is the sixth year that Branson.Com, owned by the Branson Tourism Center, has sponsored the event.