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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
Cell: (417) 365-2727

March 14, 2013


Four General of Hard Work U Book CoverCollege of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis knows a good story when he hears one.  In fact, upon learning the inspirational stories of School of the Ozarks alumni Terrence R. Dake, Gary H. Hughey, Jerry W. Ragsdale, and Tommy I. Bell, he set out to write the book The Four Generals of Hard Work U.: Extraordinary Lives of Ordinary Men.

Recounting each man’s journey from humble beginnings as teenagers attending the work school located in Point Lookout, MO, to the rank of general in the United States Military, The Four Generals of Hard Work U., as General Peter Pace describes in the book’s foreword, “reveals how the same values led four alumni to the very pinnacle of their success.”  General Pace, the 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, served in the U.S. Marine Corps with two of the four general officers, General Dake and General Hughey, profiled in the book.

“The fact that such an Ozarks school provided the gateway to prominence for such a level of leadership has always been intriguing,” explains Davis. “It has been an especially meaningful experience to trace the lives and accomplishments and service of four alumni who rose to such high ranks.”

Generals Dake, Hughey, Ragsdale, and Bell assumed heavy leadership responsibilities.  General Dake rose to the position of Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps in 1998.  Lieutenant General Gary H. Hughey served as Deputy Commander, United States Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.  Major General Jerry W. Ragsdale was named Commander of the Texas Air National Guard, Hensley Field in Dallas, Texas, 1987.  The late Brigadier General Tommy I. Bell, who was buried with full military honors at the Arlington National Cemetery in August 2011, started out as a fighter pilot with the 71st Fighter-Inceptor Squadron and eventually served his country in the Headquarters of the U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. 

Dr. Jerry C. DavisDavis tells each general’s life story through either their own words or those of individuals who know them well.   “The purpose of this book is to relate the extraordinary lives of a few leaders,” said Davis.  “Indeed, one does not have to be a general in the U.S. military to serve with honor.  In fact, the four generals of ‘Hard Work U.,’ would be the first to point this out, for they know the sacrifice of alumni such as Roy Hopper (former POW), Earl Woodard (Army Air Corps), Kaney Willbanks (former Japanese POW), and countless others who gave their lives in service to America.”

The 234-page book does more than simply tell a story.  It is dedicated to veterans of the Vietnam Era who answered their country’s call and served with honor.   All proceeds from the book will go toward the College’s Patriotic Education Travel Program, wherein the College sends students to accompany veterans back to their fields of battle in order to learn about history and sacrifice from the men and women who lived it.

To purchase a copy of the The Four Generals of Hard Work U.: Extraordinary Lives of Ordinary Men priced at $17.95, including tax and shipping, please go to or call (417) 690-3395.

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About the Author:

Jerry C. Davis is President of College of the Ozarks.  After graduating from the Berry Schools in Mount Berry, GA, he attended Truett McConnell College in Cleveland, GA, before receiving his B.S. degree from Mars Hill College, Mars Hill, NC; an M.S. degree from the University of Tennessee; and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University.  Prior to coming to College of the Ozarks, Dr. Davis served as President of Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, KY.


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