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News from Hard Work U.®

Valorie Coleman
Public Relations Director
College of the Ozarks
Point Lookout, MO 65726
Office: (417) 690-2212

For Immediate Release


Bill O'ReillyPoint Lookout, Mo.—The “no-spin” Bill O’Reilly took the stage at College of the Ozarks Thursday night to “bloviate a bit” to a maximum capacity crowd in the Keeter Gymnasium. That description, however, did not accurately portray his message which he directed to students at the patriotic-themed convocation.

Students were thrilled to hear in person from the host of FOX’s “The O’Reilly Factor.”  “Growing up I watched ‘The Factor’ with my dad, so seeing this man who basically taught me about politics, history and the world stage was surreal,” explained C of O senior Turner Brock.

As expected, Mr. O’Reilly educated the students and audience about what ails the nation. “Leadership is what is lacking in our country today,” he explained. “And that’s not a slight to President Obama or former President Bush. What we’ve lost is mission and purpose.”

He explained the many forms of leadership—quiet leadership, bombastic leadership, servant leadership, etc., but went into depth on his type of leadership.  Mr. O’Reilly candidly described his type of leadership as “not backing away from my core beliefs because some idiot is going to criticize me.” 

 “I am the biggest threat to secular progressives, because when we debate I beat the living daylights out of them, leave them in rubble. If I don’t do it, nobody else is going to do it. If it [the attack on traditional, American values] is not challenged, it becomes acceptable,” he said.

Raised in a working class family in Levittown, New York, Mr. O’Reilly beat the odds to become one of the most successful journalists and best-selling authors in the nation.  And he attributes his achievements to God.  “I am here for a reason,” Mr. O’Reilly said. “If you want to be a leader find your reason, decide what kind of leader you’re meant to be, work hard, believe in yourself, persevere and be courageous.”

His tips sparked reflection by students. “I feel that I eventually could be a bombastic-type leader that he described,” said Brock. “Anyone can be a leader if they are willing to make the sacrifices.”

SGT BarnesDuring the event at which standing ovations occurred one after another, College of the Ozarks recognized four individuals for leadership, and in Mr. O’Reilly’s honor, presented a TrackChair (an all-terrain wheel chair) to a disabled Missouri Veteran.

 Mr. O’Reilly actively supports Veterans through several philanthropic efforts, one of which is The Independence Fund, whose mission is to provide the tools, therapies and guidance to those veterans severely injured in the Line of Duty who are otherwise not receiving it.  Due to Mr. O’Reilly’s efforts and support numerous Veterans have received a TrackChair.

As part of special recognition,  C of O President Jerry C. Davis gave Mr. Bob Sarver, president of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 913-Branson, a “Leadership Award” for his and his chapter’s tireless efforts to serve their community and fellow Veterans. 

The College also honored Missouri’s only living Medal of Honor Recipient Colonel Donald Ballard (also a Vietnam Veteran) with a “Great American Award.” The College reserves this  special for individuals whose lives, careers and service reflect the highest ideals of American values—those shared by the College.  Col. Ballard received the Medal of Honor for diving onto a grenade that was thrown into the middle of a group of his fellow soldiers during battle.

Sergeant Daniel Barnes, the Missouri Veteran that received the TrackChair, wheeled onto the stage in his new machine.  O’Reilly was encouraged to learn that School of the Ozarks students had raised the money to purchase the TrackChair as part of its Pitch in for Patriots club.  “If every high school would do that, you know,” O’Reilly said. “That [taking a leadership role in establishing the club and working to help Veterans] shows me a lot of metal.”

Sgt. Barnes lost both legs when his unit was ambushed in Baghdad in 2006. In an interview with School of the Ozarks students, he told them that if he could, he would still serve in the Army.  For his selfless, servant leadership, the College presented him with a “Great American Award.”

Finally, the College recognized Mr. O’Reilly with a “Great American Award” for his leadership in standing up for traditional, American values and not backing down—as Mr. O’Reilly describes it, bombastic leadership.


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