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College of the Ozarks celebrates Honor America with food trucks, fireworks, patriotic program

On Saturday, June 29, College of the Ozarks hosted the 35th annual Honor America Celebration on campus.

POINT LOOKOUT, MO — On Saturday, June 29, College of the Ozarks hosted the 35th annual Honor America Celebration on campus. The event helped the community to collectively celebrate the nation and to remember American servicemen and women. A record crowd attended the annual event.

 Dr. Brad Johnson, College of the Ozarks president, honored and prayed for families whose spouses are currently serving in the Middle East, and the College presented several special recognitions during the patriotic program. Sheriff Brad Daniels and four Taney County deputies were presented with beautiful stained-glass pieces made by the students and staff in the College’s Stained Glass & Candle Shop.
Dr. Marci Linson, vice president for vocational activities and dean of admissions, presented Rebekah Dunnam and Ashley Exendine with baskets of student-made products. Rebekah is the wife of Army Chaplain Caleb Dunnam, who serves as assistant professor of military science at the College and is currently deployed to the Middle East. In addition, special recognition was given to Ashley Exendine. Ashley, who serves as an assistant professor of conservation and wildlife management for the College, is the wife of Sargeant Mike Exendine, who is also deployed to the Middle East. Mike serves on the College’s public safety team.
“The College is grateful for the service of Captain Dunnam and Sargeant Exendine,” said Chassidy Brittain, director of patriotic activities. “We are also grateful for their families, who sacrifice for our freedom.”
The patriotic program concluded the evening with the Presentation of Colors by the 935th Aviation Support Battalion, MOARNG. The Hard Work U. Concert Band also played inspiring patriotic pieces and provided a musical backdrop for the spectacular fireworks displays.
From 6-8:30 pm, the local community was invited to enjoy live music from The Hunt Family Band, and the 135th Army Bands – The Big Band and Aftershock. Various food trucks were present for the event such as Chick-fil-A, London Calling, The Deck Pizza Company, and Kilwins. Families also participated, and the children’s area provided a station for face painting, writing “Thank You” cards for Veterans, playing on bounce houses, and touring a Missouri Army National Guard Blackhawk UH-60 helicopter.
Dr. Stacy McNeill, dean of academic enrichment at the College, enjoys Honor America with her family every year.
“We value the opportunity to come together as a campus family and local community in honoring our country,” McNeill said. “We celebrate our Veterans throughout the year at College of the Ozarks, but Honor America is a special tradition. This year’s event was full of new elements, including a drone show, additional food trucks, student-made products, and a switch on the calendar to Saturday. Our guests seemed to have a wonderful time.”
School of the Ozarks hosts “Meet and Greet”
An hour before the events of the night, School of the Ozarks hosted a brief “Meet and Greet” for incoming students and their families. Inside the Plaster Business building, students, teachers, and parents gathered to enjoy refreshments as they connected with current S of O families. Parents of Patriots (POPS) have organized the annual event since the 2014-15 school year to encourage students to engage with their new school family.
The parents, along with School of the Ozarks administrators, hope that new students and their parents will become acclimated to the S of O facilities and begin to feel comfortable in a new environment.
Robyn Posey, a POPS parent who planned this year’s event, said, “The hope is that seasoned families would connect with new families.”

The above press release is from the College of the Ozarks.

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