National Air Tour of Historic WWII Aircraft
Will be at the Branson Airport Sept. 15-16! 
The Branson Bugle is online now for Spring 2017 CLICK HERE
Information about Veterans Week is in this publication.
If you have any questions please call 417-337-8387.
Veterans Task Force board welcomes new members
Brenda Owen Meadows

February 17th, 2015

The BVTF has new board members and plans for a great 2015! Missing from this photo are board members Mary Schantag, Julie Peters, Rich Crowell (new), Rich Watson and Ernie Bradley. From left, back row: Mike Yates (vice chair),Nick Ambegia (Home Front Shoot Out chair), Amber Campbell, Tammy Slentz, Pam Brown (sponsorships), Steve Baughan. Bottom row, from left: Sherrie Schnapp (education), Barb Riggle (former vice chair and Women Veterans Committee former chair), Brenda Meadows Chairperson, Kristina Gilbert, June Tillis (acting secretary).
The Branson Veterans Task Force (BVTF) opened its first meeting of 2015 by welcoming new board members Steve Baughan, Tammy Slentz, Amber Campbell, Rich Crowell, Sherrie Schnapp, Nick Ambregia and Kristina Gilbert to its ranks. The board also reelected Chairperson Brenda Meadows and Mike Yates as vice chair.

Meadows said 2015 is going to be a strong year for area veterans and those who visit Branson.

“The task force is focusing on highlighting Branson’s heart towards honoring and welcoming veterans, active-duty personnel and all of their families,” she said. “This board has more members than we’ve had in the past few years and all of us want to work together to create an atmosphere where all veterans feel the love here and are comfortable, as well as entertained.”

Yates said all of the people chosen to serve on the board have done previous work for the task force.

Gilbert said she had volunteered at BVTF events throughout 2014 and sees being a board member as an opportunity to do more.

“I am a very proud wife of a retired airman, daughter of an Air Force veteran, daughter in law of a Navy veteran, sister of a retired Navy submariner and mom to a serving Army soldier,” she said. “I love the idea that whatever time I can give is helping reach as many veterans as possible and letting them know how much I appreciate their service.”

Yates said that the board has chosen some “very good people”

“I think we’re going to have more of a can-do attitude in 2015 than we’ve had in the past with management backgrounds in our board members — that in its self will accomplish a lot for the board,” he said.

Crowell, who is the general manager of Golden Corral, said joining the task force board was a perfect fit for him.

“Every Monday from 5-9 p.m., we offer a free meal for veterans ... so I’ve been working with veterans a long time,” said Crowell, who has been involved with the task force for several years, but just joined the board this year. “I love our veterans and the task force has been very supportive of them over the years. Branson is the greatest city in the country for our veterans and it just seemed like the perfect fit.”

Crowell said the community should expect a lot of great things from the task force in the coming year.

“They are amazing people that support our community and really care about our veterans,” he said. “It makes you feel good to help an amazing organization. Without our vets, we wouldn’t be here and wouldn’t have our freedom. They are the true heroes.

Along with board members Meadows and Yates, the new members join existing members Pam Brown, Mary Schantag, Barb Riggle, Ernie Bradley, Julie Peters, June Tillis and Rich Watson.

Meadows said the task force board would miss treasurer Greg Schnapp who recently retired, mainly due to health problems. She said the 10 years he dedicated to the task force benefited the community as well as veterans. The board presented him a plaque and a gift certificate

For more information, call the Task Force at 417-337-8387.


June 25 2014
Got this photo today from my Branson Veterans Task Force buddies and it made me laugh then cry! I love these folks! Thank you Mayor Presley for taking the photo and texting it to me. Where is the selfie of you?
— with Dixie Gentry, Dayle Tom Goldsworthy and Barbara Riggle.



Ryan Slight,10:25 p.m. CDT June 6, 2014

On the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Ozarks Technical Community College honored those who served while recognizing the needs of student veterans. Some of those younger veterans also spoke of the recent headlines about problems for veterans receiving health care.

The college hosted a fair for veterans to connect them with resources, and unveiled an interactive memorial titled "Flag of the Fallen" during a Friday morning ceremony......

BVTF Vice Chair Barb Riggle talked to a number of women veterans attending the event!

Watch for News regarding the interactive memorial titled "Flag of the Fallen.

May 22, 2014 Meet and Greet  Doc's Hickory Roadhouse

Branson Veterans Task Force Board Member Mary Schantag, Distinguished Patriot Award Recipient,  Mike Boswell, BVTF Vice Chair Barb Riggle. Attending, but not pictured, Board Members Julie Peters 
and Mike Yates.

The Branson Veterans Task Force is dependent on volunteers, as are many other non profit groups. Mike, an Vietnam Air Force veteran, was invaluable in the planning and event activities surrounding the Inaugural Wheels for Freedom Car Show. In addition to his efforts with the BVTF - Mike also is a member of the Branson Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 913. Before the evening was done, Mike was working on the 2nd Annual.... for 2015!

For Armed Forces Weekend, the Branson Veterans Task sought and organized donations for Military Families to spent the weekend in Branson.  Housing, meals, gas, entertainment was provided by the generosity of the Branson community.  Although more families were sought - two families were chosen by their base commander to enjoy the gift in 2014.  This family name has been redacted...

THIS BILL HAS PASSED thanks to the efforts of VVA #913

Senator David Sater
29th Senatorial District
 For Immediate Release:
April 24, 2014

Capitol Building, Room 433
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Contact: Tucker Jobes
(573) 751-1480

Sen. Sater Files Resolution to Establish State’s Official Vietnam War Memorial in Branson

JEFFERSON CITY — Senator David Sater, R-Cassville, has filed Senate Concurrent Resolution 43 to establish the official Missouri Vietnam War Memorial in the Branson area. This memorial would honor the many Missourians who fought in the Vietnam War and, specifically, the 1,410 who sacrificed their lives. The College of the Ozarks has graciously agreed to fund this project and construct it on their campus near Branson. The Branson area is widely recognized for welcoming and honoring our country’s heroes. Branson is unofficially known as the “Veteran’s Capital of the Nation,” and the city hosts one of America’s largest Veterans Day celebration every year. The Branson area also hosts the Vietnam Veterans “Welcome Home Celebration,” and is home to the Veteran’s Memorial Museum.

“Freedom is not free.  Without the sacrifices of our soldiers, we would not have the basic freedoms we take for granted every day,” said Sen. Sater. “While we may never be able to fully repay our debt of gratitude to our veterans, we can honor their memory and remember they are the reason we are able to continue living in the greatest country in the world”

The memorial will serve as a reminder of the sacrifice of our Vietnam veterans and allow present and future generations to honor these brave soldiers. It will also bring awareness to the many Veteran celebrations that occur in Branson and showcase the area as one welcoming and appreciative of our veterans.

 “We believe that Branson would be a great location for the memorial A high volume of veterans visiting Branson warrants the location being here”, said Ron Simmons, President of the Branson chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

The Resolution could reach the Senate floor for consideration as early as next week.

For more on this legislation or any other measures filed by Sen. Sater, please visit his Senate website CLICK HERE

USMC SgtMaj (retired) Pam Bloughstine presents the recognition
to E'yvonne RunningWolfWoman King USAF veteran.

Apache helicopter pilot Army Maj (retired) Vicki Jones 
presents a personal gift to Running for her efforts to 
support veterans and her work with women veterans.

BVTF members were present in Moore, Oklahoma, April 19, when recognition was bestowed upon E'yvonne RunningWolfWoman King, USAF veteran, for her outstanding efforts with the Oklahoma Women Veterans Organization. The chapter is one of several in Oklahoma comprised of all women veterans. Two of the chapter's members are WWII Marines, and the youngest are active duty Air Force members. Marine Corps veteran Joan Willauer was absent from the meeting, having fallen and broken her hip the week prior. Members of the chapter and BVTF stopped at the rehab center to bring her get well wishes before and after the meeting.


Celebrities raise funds for Task Force at Doc’s fundraiser

Baldknobbers Brandon Mabe and Megan McCombs serve the Eslinger family on April 17 at Doc’s Hickory Roadhouse Fundraiser for the Branson Veterans Task Force.
Boxcar Willie, Jr and Barry Williams join other celebrities to serve customers at Doc’s Hickory Roadhouse fundraiser for The Branson Veterans Task Force on April 17.


Barbara Fairchild serves customers at Doc's during the BVTF fundraiser.

 Branson Junior Miss Heleena Haberer, "Doc" Franklin, Steve Weyher, Barry Williams and Springfield Junior Miss Lia Bernhardi.

Jason Yaeger, Doug Gabriel, World Famous Platters Tribute, Terry Sanders, Mario Rosales.

Celebrities raise funds for Task Force at Doc’s fundraiser

Celebrity servers couldn’t resist the temptation to perform for diners at a fundraiser for Branson Veterans Task Force (BVTF) at Doc's Hickory Roadhouse on April 17.

The entertainers volunteered to take orders, deliver drinks and visit with BVTF supporters who came to dine. But, customers requested songs, comedy shticks and other performances -- which were readily acknowledged in order to increase tips collected. A percentage of all meals served during the fundraiser also went to the Branson Veterans Task Force.

Doc’s donated any tips collected by the entertainers to the BVTF, as well as a percentage of each ticket.

“I am a veteran myself,” said Doc’s owner Jerry (Doc) Franklin. “The task force does so much to make sure that veterans are recognized in this community. I want Doc’s to be a part of that.”

Comedic character impersonator Terry Sanders, was happy appear at the fundraiser as TV’s Barney Fife complete with handcuffs and an attitude.

“I love doing these kinds of things for veterans causes,” he said. “It proves, once again, that Branson honors those who’ve served this country.”

Others performers that dedicated their time for the fundraiser were Barry Williams, Doug Gabriel, Tim Hadler, Mario Rosales, Barbara Fairchild, Jason Yeager, Smoke on the Mountain cast, Brandon Mabe and Megan, Tom and Brydon Brett, World Famous Platters Tribute, Voice of Glory, Barry Williams, Boxcar Willie, JR., Frederick Berry, Peggy Lee Brennan, Branson Junior Miss Heleena Haberer and Springfield Junior Miss Lia Bernhardi.

For information about up-coming BVTF events call 417-337-8387

Jacksonville, Arkansas

Members of the BVTF joined Jacksonville, Arkansas residents at the 3rd Annual Arkansas' Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Celebration April 5th. The one day event included vendors, speakers, a POW/MIA service, parade and dinner, as well as free admission to the Museum.


The Museum joined forces with City officials and Little Rock Air Force Base to salute Vietnam Veterans.


The Marines and Airmen from Little
 Rock AFB were on hand all day.


Little Rock Air Force base airmen performed the POW/MIA White Table service in recognition of all our missing and captured service members.

Vietnam Veterans were recognized and presented flowers from the local Girl Scout troop.


College of the Ozarks Bobcats 
Vietnam Veterans Appreciation Game


BVTF Co-Chair Barb Riggle, a retired USAFNG veteran,
 tosses up the honorary tip off for the women's game.



During a conversation late last summer, a Branson Veterans Task Force member received a suggestion regarding patriotic individuals in town that gave "above and beyond any expectations, especially any expectation of recognition." When this suggestion was mentioned at a BVTF meeting, the united consensus within the board of directors was that these humble individuals, oftentimes behind the scenes, gave of their time and deserved our gratitude.

Their work in our community showed honor, respect, and recognition that was a “personal salute” from them to veterans in, or visiting, Branson. That consensus evolved into the BVTF DISTINGUISHED PATRIOT AWARD, which will be bestowed to a person, or persons, that have come to our attention.

 There are no specific numbers or time frame to limit the number of award presentations. While it appears to be a monthly award, that is simply a coincidence as we reach out in this community to find those Patriots most deserving of recognition, and honor them as they truly honor America’s veterans in their daily lives.Each award is a personally engraved plaque that reflects the recipient’s contributions and patriotic acts.

October 2013 - Voices of Glory / AYO

The Voices of Glory’s award plaque states that the group was selected because of its, “patriotism and personal contributions, assuring our veterans, service members and their families are entertained and recognized for their sacrifice.”

November 2013 - Pam Brown / Gatherings Plus

Pam Brown has been involved in the tourism industry for most of the past 41 years. In 1999 she became involved with planning military reunions and started her own company, Gatherings Plus in 2003.

     “We honor our Veterans each and every day and count it a privilege to work with 50 plus reunion groups each year,” she said. 

From Pam's Blog: “Without all of my devoted staff and the Branson businesses and citizens we couldn't do what we do. Thanks to all of you for what you do to assist me in honoring Veterans. Let us never forget they are the true patriots and heroes of this country.” 


December 2013 - Sarah Hord, Radisson Branson 
(presented Jan 24, 2014)

Snow days and holidays delayed the presentation of Sarah Hord's recognition. She was honored for her work with veterans which goes back decades. She was part of the committee that brought the Medal of Honor Convention to Branson in 2003.  She is a voice in the community for the POW/MIA issue. Her continued efforts to make every veterans visit to Branson a memory making trip made her a perfect recipient.  
Pic 2 - Sarah speaking at the POW/MIA Silent March in September 2013.

January 2014 - Dr Sue Head   BVTF surprises Dr. Sue Head

DISTINGUISHED PATRIOT AWARD on Jan. 28, 2014, during the VVA Chapter 913 monthly meeting. Members of VVA Chapter 913 joined Dr. Head on the platform. Front row, from left: BVTF Board member Mary Schantag, BVTF Vice Chair Barbara Riggle, BVTF Board member Julie Peters, Dr, Head holding plaque and BVTF Chair Brenda Meadows.  Picture courtesy Branson Daily Independent.  

It took some doing, but thanks to the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Chapter 913, the Branson Veterans Task Force (BVTF) was able to surprise College of the Ozarks Dean of Character Education Dr. Sue Head with its DISTINGUISHED PATRIOT AWARD.
Dr. Head had no idea she would be part of a presentation on Jan. 28, 2014.
“Oh, what a surprise,” she said. “I would have dressed up more if I had known.”

 In order for the presentation to keep its element of surprise, VVA Chapter 913 President Bob Sarver invited Dr. Head to speak at the group’s monthly meeting at the Golden Corral. When Dr. Head was called to the podium, Sarver called the BVTF board up to the platform.

 The inscription on her Distinguished Patriot Award plaque read: Presented to Dr. Sue Head for her tireless efforts, commitment and dedication to America’s military veterans, service members and their families.

 The DISTINGUISHED PATRIOT AWARD was established to recognize local patriotic individuals that give "above and beyond any expectations, especially any expectation of recognition."

Dr. Head has served as the Executive Director of The Keeter Center for Character Education since 2004 and spearheaded the character education initiative First PLACE, developed the S. Truett Cathy Poverty Summit and helped oversee the Patriotic Education Travel Program. Through her work, she has displayed a passion to honor the U.S. military, its veterans and their families through overseeing and implementing various programs to keep the public aware of the sacrifices made for freedom.
“It’s not just me,” said Head. “I have a wonderful group of people who do most of the work. This is their award as well.”

     To learn more about the BVTF, call 417-337-8387.



The Branson Veterans Task Force is a 501 (c)(3) organization with a mission of recognizing veterans, fostering
patriotism and educating the community on the accomplishments and the history of our veterans.
Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the IRS rules and regulations.



Branson Veterans Task Force
P.O. Box 128
Branson, Mo 65616