July 23, 2018
Ozark Mountain Community joins together in memorial service at College of the Ozarks todayCommunity members gather at the College of the Ozarks chapel today, July 22, for a special service to commemorate the lives lost in tragedy on Table Rock Lake last week.
Branson Mayor Karen Best addresses those gathered for the Ozark Mountain Community Memorial Service.
Justin Carswell, vice president for Christian ministries at College of the Ozarks, presented the sermon reflection.
Volunteers with the Western Taney County Fire Protection District gather for a time of support to one another.
More than 400 gathered in Williams Memorial Chapel at College of the Ozarks today to show support for survivors, family members, and friends of those lost in last week’s tragedy.
POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — The Ozark Mountain Community came together today, July 22, 2018, to grieve, heal, and find strength in one another in the aftermath of the tragedy on Table Rock Lake last week.
College of the Ozarks, in conjunction with the City of Branson, hosted the memorial service in Williams Memorial Chapel. More than 400 people gathered to memorialize the victims who lost their lives and lift up those who were grieving. Approximately 12 to 15 survivors and friends and family of the victims attended.
“Today we are all family,” said Dr. Jerry C. Davis, president of College of the Ozarks. “We are here today to honor the memory of those who lost their lives in the tragedy on Table Rock Lake Thursday evening. We are here to offer comfort to those who have been affected by this tragedy in so many, many different ways. We appreciate the fact that you made this a priority, and we think that your presence truly reflects the very heart of the Ozarks.”
The service included remarks by Branson Mayor Karen Best and the Rev. Tom Wilcox, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Branson. Justin Carswell, C of O vice president for Christian Ministries and dean of the chapel, brought a message of encouragement for the friends and families of the victims.
“As I traveled through our community Thursday evening and over the past few days, what I have seen, heard in conversations, and overheard as I passed by is the sense of shock, grief, and disbelief as a result of the tragic and devastating events,” Carswell said. “In this community, known for its hospitality for all people, it’s difficult to find the words to say. We gather here today to remind ourselves of the realities of the power of God, even though death storms after us.
“As this community moves forward, let us move forward through our sorrow and grief by faith, having peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us, by His grace, stand by faith and rejoice in hope in the glory of God.”
The program also included a Scripture reading of Psalm 23, hymns sung by the congregation, and a benediction by Steve Martin, Nixa Missouri Fire Chaplain and pastor of Union Hill Church of Christ in Nixa.
The mayor spoke words of encouragement for those impacted by this tragedy.
“Today, we honor you. We honor the seventeen lives that were lost. We honor the fourteen survivors. And we honor the many heroes who did everything in their power to save lives, jumping in waters that were putting their lives in jeopardy,” Best said. “To those families on the ducks on July 19, 2018, please know you will always, always, always be a part of our family. And you will always remain in our hearts. We love you and God bless.”
About College of the Ozarks
College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college, located in Point Lookout, Missouri, on a 1,000-acre campus. Christian values, hard work, and financial responsibility comprise the fundamental building blocks of the “Hard Work U.” experience. The College earns numerous accolades yearly, including No. 1 Best Value Regional College in the Midwest and No. 1 Most Innovative School in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for 2018. To achieve its vision, the College pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals. These goals are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model.
The Keeter Center — the College’s award-winning lodge, restaurant, and conference facility — was ranked a Top Small Hotel in the U.S. by TripAdvisor for 2018. It features historic lodging, fine dining, and meeting rooms. With more than 350 student workers, it is the largest workstation on campus. Follow College of the Ozarks at www.facebook.com/collegeoftheozarks or on Twitter @CofOHardWorkU.
07.23.18 – Valorie Coleman