Herschend honors mother at Centennial Museum event

By Jason Wert

The power and tenaciousness of the Proverbs 31 woman was on display at the Branson Centennial Museum on Tuesday, Aug. 16, as local businesswoman and philanthropist Sherry Herschend gave a presentation titled “Memories of the Ozarks.” Herschend told stories about her mother Fannabelle, who among other things delivered mail from Ike’s Post Office mentioned in the novel “The Shepherd of the Hills.” She said her mother was a perfect example of the Proverbs 31 woman, referring to the chapter in the Bible which describes a woman of noble character, who works hard, cares for her family, and provides for the needs of others around her. “I’ve never known a woman who had more Proverbs 31 qualities than [my mother],” Herschend said.
She talked about how her mother would make her clothes and would trade for other things because supplies could be hard to come by when she was just a child. The trading and swapping of supplies came via the mail. “There’s no Amazon to come and bring things the very next day,” Herschend said. “If you wanted to give something away to your neighbor who was needy, and my parents did this all the time, you would put it on the fence post with their name on it, and the mail carrier would pick it up and take it to them.” Herschend said the trading and making sure both her neighbors had their needs met and her family’s needs met was a perfect example of her mother’s Proverbs 31 qualities.
Sherry Herschend shares stories about her mother at the Branson Centennial Museum. She also talked about her mother becoming the youngest tour guide for Marvel Cave along with delivering the mail. She would pick up visitors from the train that came through once a day, brought them to a tea room owned by the Lynch sisters, who had cabins for rent. She would take the visitors either on a mule or
walking to the cave. Herschend said when her mother would bring visitors to the cave, there was no Highway 76, only a trail that went around Dewey Bald and down past where the Butterfly Palace is today, which gave visitors a view of the valley. She brought a number of items which her mother
used, or were replicas of items her mother used, along with displays of photographs showing her mother and other noted residents of the area during her mother’s life. In addition to speaking about her mother, she told attendees about some of the ways residents of the area would make money in ways many people would never consider, like miners collecting bat guano from inside Marvel Cave, the only item ever mined from the cave. “Mining was huge,” Herschend said. “The bat guano they could get so much more than they could get out of the forest, the trees, there wasn’t anything they were selling that they could get more money than bat guano.” She also talked about her grandfather being a blacksmith, and the items necessary to become a blacksmith, but revealed to the attendees at the talk her mother also knew how to do the craft. The anvil used by the blacksmith at Silver Dollar City is the same anvil used by her mother. Herschend’s talk was part of the monthly special lecture series at the Branson Centennial Museum. More information can be found on the Museum’s Facebook page.


Fritz’s Adventure to purchase $30,000 of
gift cards in 2022 from area restaurants

By Tim Church

Fritz’s Adventure is reinvesting back into the Branson community with the purchase of more than $30,000 of gift cards to area restaurants and eateries.
Fritz’s Supports Local was launched earlier this year. Fritz’s Adventure Chief Marketing Officer John Vaughn shared this initiative was created to give back to the community following the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We wanted to be able to support local restaurants and eateries. With the pandemic, that industry, like many, has been hit really hard. So we said, ‘What can we do that offers value to local restaurants and eateries, while also offering value to our guests? Allowing us to create surprise and delight moments for our guests,’” Vaughn said. “We got together and said, ‘Let’s do Fritz’s Supports Local. Throughout the year from early spring break through the end of the year, let’s purchase $30,000 of gift cards to these local restaurants and eateries, distribute them to our guests randomly throughout the year.’” With the purchase of these gift cards, Vaughn explained how by giving out free gift cards to their guests they’re creating even more opportunities for area restaurants and eateries. “Our guests enjoy it because they
get free value. They get to go to Gettin’ Basted or they get to go to Parlor Doughnuts or to Hurt’s Donuts or Fuddruckers and there’s lots more partners
that we work with. So they get sort of a meal on us if you will. The restaurant appreciates it, because not only do we buy the gift cards at full value from the restaurant, but they also get the benefit of the individual bringing his or her family,” Vaughn said. “Most often you’ve got mom and dad and then a couple of kids, so we’re taking care of one meal for the family and then they’ll purchase additional meals from the restaurant. I feel like it’s a win for everybody. It’s certainly a win for the local restaurants, it’s a win for our guests and because we’re able to take care of our guests and support our community, it’s a win for us as well.” Additional Branson eateries who have partnered with Fritz’s for this promotion include: Table Rock Coffee Roasters,
Scooter’s Sports Grill, Mr. G’s Chicago Pizza & Pub, Sugar Leaf Bakery, Expresso Branson, Big D’s BBQ, Local Flavor, Danna’s BBQ, Rocco’s New York Style
Pizza and Pickin’ Porch Grill. “I was very surprised that another company would do that for a local business,” Hugo Buentello with Sweet Susie’s Frozen Treats said. “We believe it’s going to open doors for everybody. Branson is a small community and we should all be working together to make people happy and make them have a wonderful experience in Branson. As far as guests receiving a gift card during their next visit to Fritz’s Adventure, Vaughn shared it’s totally random. “We want to create surprise and delight moments. We do promote that we do this, but obviously we can’t take care
of every single guest,” Vaughn said. “Depending on the day you come, we may give away 50 gift cards, we may give away 100 gift cards. It’s truly a random distribution of gift cards. The reception has been very good.” Since the launch of this initiative, Vaughn shared what excites them the most is knowing the gift cards they’re giving out are being used. “Earlier this year we gave away 500 Hurt’s Donuts gift cards and in essence it was truly a free donut. So we would give it to a family, so they would get one free donut. Then obviously purchase a few extra donuts for the rest of the family. At last report, Hurt’s had received over 410 gift cards back out of the 500. So we know the guests are enjoying it and taking full advantage of it.” “Fritz’s Supports Local has been awesome for us. We have seen a lot of folks that we probably would have not normally seen,” Hurts Donuts Owner Shanna Dorlan said. “It’s really fun to get them in here and they talk about Fritz’s Adventure and we get to talk about our donuts. The experience is just awesome.”
Guests of Fritz’s Adventure who received a gift card during the visit are encouraged to take a picture at the attraction with their gift card and post the
photo to Facebook or Instagram using the hashtags #FritzsSupportsLocal and #FritzsAdventure for their chance to be one of the 20 selected this year to win an additional $25 gift card from Andy’s Frozen Custard. “We were excited Fritz’s wanted to partner with us and expose their clients, who already love Branson, to another new place here in town that is just going to help them love Branson even more,” Angie Woods with Parlor Doughnuts
said. Though Fritz’s Adventure already offers more than 80,000 square feet of adventurous fun for families of all ages, Vaughn said they are consistently striving to do more. “There’s that old saying, ‘Do for one, what you wish you could do for everyone.’ We’re trying to impact as many of those local restaurants as we can. We want to be generous in a world that doesn’t seem to have as much kindness as it used to and doesn’t seem to have as
much generosity as it used to,” Vaughn said. “We’d like to be able to encourage and inspire our guests, local restaurants, their guests and others that hear about this promotion to continue to exhibit kindness, to continue to exhibit generosity, because there are still lots of good people in this world and there’s still a lot of good business owners out there. We sort of want to highlight those people and encourage people to shop at those locations and to be able to give back whatever way they see fit as well.” Inside Fritz’s Adventure, guests will find ziplining, underground tunnels, an airworthy airplane, a massive water tower, extreme slides, climbing walls, warped walls, shipping containers, a laser maze and much more. Fritz’s Adventure is located at 1425
W. 76 Country Blvd. in Branson. The attraction is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Hours are subject to change on select days. For additional information on the Branson attraction or to make ticket reservations visit fritzsadventure.com.

Online resource hub created to help families in need

By AJ Fahr aj@bransontrilakesnews.com
Skaggs Foundation awarded Hollister School District a three-year, $40,000 grant in late 2021 to create an online, searchable database of resources for Stone and Taney counties. The website, ResourcestotheRescue.org, launched in May.
A new source is available to help Stone and Taney County residents find resources before times of crisis. The Resource to the Rescue is a search able database, which was funded by the Skaggs Foundation, was the brainchild of Hollister Middle School Counselor Sandy Brown. The idea came to Brown when she couldn’t find an online search able database of local resources to use to help families in her district. She decided she’d take on the project herself. Just six months after receiving funding from Skaggs Foundation, the website went live, according to a press release from the Skaggs Foundation.
The website offers a resource hub for the area, according to the Resources to the Rescue website. The database offers a place for the community to easily navigate to find the help they need. “The Resources to the Rescue website stems from counselors, social workers, and other staff dreaming of an updated and maintained resource hub for our community,” Brown explained. “Many community members would begin looking for resources and the roadblocks were too overwhelming for them to continue their search. This leads to community members finding themselves in crisis.” Brown said as a school counselor, she sees families reach out for help when they are in “crisis mode.” Brown could spend hours trying to find resources to aid with everything from electric bills, rent and car repairs. She said she knew there had to be a better way, but it was going to take a lot of work.

In the spring of 2021, Brown presented the idea of a search able resource website to the Skaggs Foundation. The idea quickly evolved from helping just Hollister families to creating a database to help families and individuals throughout Stone and Taney counties, stated the release. In late 2021, Brown was awarded a three-year, $40,000 Skaggs Legacy Endowment grant to create the website. Brown brought in a team, which included a social work intern and the Hollister School District’s counseling team, to gather the information of local organizations and resources for the hub and the website built this past school year. The site went live in late May and the team is now focused on maintaining and keeping the site up-to-date. “Not only do we want to provide resources, but we also want to empower our community members to obtain these resources before they reach crisis mode,” she said. “Our hope and mission is that the Resources to the Rescue website will serve as a tool for not only the community but for organizations, agencies, service providers, schools, religious organizations, hospitals and more.” According to the website, the Resources to the Rescue team hopes to give an equal opportunity for all to have access to the information about resources available to them. “Our team realized how necessary it was for our community to have a go-to and maintained resource website,” stated the website. “Our team is actively working to strengthen the community by providing equal access to resources to promote equal opportunities and outcomes.” The website lists resources available to the area for the following needs.

  • Affordable Health Care
  • Clothing
  • Crisis
  • Family Support
  • Food
  • Mental Health
  • Personal Development
    According to the website, if an agency, organization, or service provider in Stone and Taney counties would like to join Resources to the Rescue’s website, they must fill out a questionnaire found on the website. A Resources to the Rescue team member will review the information provided in the questionnaire and then will be in contact with the agency to answer questions and finalize the information provided before publishing it on the website. There is no cost to join the hub. “Being a part of the Resources to the Rescue website will bring awareness to the services and resources your organization or agency may provide and assist those in need,” states the website. “Resources to the Rescue is a go-to resource hub that is regularly updated to best serve the needs of
    our community.” Ozark Mountain Country Cares Communications Director Susan Flores said she is grateful for Brown and the team for stepping up to take on such an important project. She said the site will not only be a great resource for families, but also help local entities understand what other organizations are doing in the community and make referrals. The site is user friendly, easy to navigate and has an online form for organizations to be able quickly and easily update their information. “Everyone in our community will be able to benefit tremendously from Resources to the Rescue,” Flores said. “For the family needing assistance, it
    will be a great place to start to access resources they need. Thank you, Hollister Schools, for initiating this much needed resource.”
    To learn more about the Resources to the Rescue project, visit Resourcestotherescue.org.
    To learn more about Skaggs Foundation and Skaggs Legacy Endowment grant opportunities, visit SkaggsFoundation.org


Legacy Academy expands Preschool Options

By Jason Wert

Legacy Academy has announced they will be celebrating 30 years of serving the community with an expansion of their facility on State Highway 165.
The Legacy Preschool will be expanding their operations to include both their location at First Baptist Church in Branson and three new classrooms attached to the Legacy Academy campus. The school will then have openings in their classrooms for two year-olds, three-year-olds, and four-year-olds.
“So much prayer has gone into the steps needed for this growth, God is good and has been faithful to Legacy Preschool every step of the way,” Legacy Preschool Executive Director Kathryn Jones said in a statement.
Jones said the students of the preschool focus on kindergarten readiness through the “Kindergarten in Training” program. She said the students learn correct behavior for kindergarten classrooms like “sitting at the table with calm bodies, eating their food and not playing with it, talking quietly with their neighbors, staying in their own space and keeping their hands to themselves.” More information about Legacy Academy’s preschool program
can be found on their website legacybranson.com.

National Mom’s group moves headquarters to Branson

An excerpt from an article by Jason Wert -Branson Tri-lakes News

An organization who mobilizes moms in the political arena has announced they are moving their national headquarters to Branson.

Moms for America announced the move at a public gathering on Saturday, May 14. The organization’s President, Kimberly Fletcher, said not only was the organization’s headquarters moving to Branson but she and her entire family would also be moving to the Ozarks. “Everyone asks me why we picked Branson and I answer that God actually picked it for us, ” Fletcher said at the event. “Once I got here, it was very clear to my why it’s Branson. I had always heard about the people and the community, then I visited last winter and saw that even the Christmas decorations are patriotic:! It’s a place where they love God, they respect family, they love freedom and every single show has a tribute to the military! This is absolutely where we want to be.

Moms For America is a grassroots organization founded in Dayton, Ohio in 2004. The organization describes themselves as a “national movement of moms reclaiming our culture for truth, family, freedom, and the Constitution.” They strive to empower moms, promote liberty, and raise patriots.”

“Moms are out there doing it effectively,” Fletcher said. “They’re hosting local and national political events, they’re running for office, they’re starting private schools, they’re hosting book clubs to get moms together. The coolest thing is that they’re all taking on things that matter most to them. They find what they’re passionate about and then we empower them to go out and get things done.”

The JATC Gives Back to Area Teachers

The JATC gives back to area teachers
The Junior Auxiliary of Taney County decided to celebrate National Junior Auxiliaries Week by doing something special for area teachers.
National JA Week was April 3 through 9. The JATC gave out baskets of snacks to Taney County schools to place in their teacher’s workrooms.
“Teachers share our mission and by caring today we (can) build character for tomorrow,” stated a press release from the JATC. “Our slogan “Caring Hearts—Helping H a n d s — C h a n g i n g Lives” is shared by teachers in our community and illustrated daily.” The JATC delivered 21 baskets of snacks to Bradleyville, Branson, Forsyth, Hollister, Kirbyville, Mark Twain, and Taneyville School Districts.
The JATC, a nonprofit organization, was chartered by a group of women united by a single cause and dedicated to helping the children of Taney
County. Members are encouraged to render charitable services, which are beneficial to the general public, with particular emphasis on children.
The JATC projects are designed to fulfill the virtues of charity, youth, health, community service, and leadership in members and those we serve,
according to their website.

C of O named No. 1 Christian college

By AJ Fahr  aj@bransontrilakesnews.com

College of the Ozarks has been ranked No. 1 in the 2022 Best Christian Colleges and Universities list compiled by College Consensus.
College Consensus is a unique college ranking and review aggregator combining top publisher rankings and student reviews, according to a press release from C of O. The college also ranked as the No. 9 Best Colleges and Universities in the Midwest, No. 14 Best Small Colleges, and No. 33 Best Private Colleges
& Universities.
According to College Consensus, “Small and large, Christian colleges run the gamut, including schools rooted in the liberal arts, universities focused on research and professional education, and colleges dedicated to building an ethical, service-oriented workforce.”  “College of the Ozarks is a unique institution,
where students work for their education, graduating debt-free,” Public Relations Director Valorie Coleman said. “The college appreciates earning recognition from College Consensus, especially since it reflects the hard work of faculty, staff, and students at Hard Work U.”
According to their website, by combining the results of the most reputable college ranking publishers and thousands of real student reviews from around
the web, College Consensus provides a comprehensive ranking of a school’s reputation and quality.
To view the 2022 ranking, visit www.collegeconsensus.com/rankings/best-christian-colleges/.

Ozark Mountain Prayer Breakfast Thursday

By Jason Wert

Hundreds of Christians from around the region will gather together Thursday morning, May 5, at the Branson Convention Center for the 21st Annual Ozark Mountain Prayer Breakfast. The event is being held in conjunction with the National Day of Prayer. The event will open with a breakfast at 6
a.m., followed by a program which will include inspirational singing, an award presentation, and a keynote address from Silver StarRecipient and Vietnam Veteran Captain Allen B. Clark.

The Ozark Mountain Prayer Breakfast is sponsored by the Branson Christian Business Men’s Committee. The group is a “movement of men dedicated to prayer while sharing the gospel and hope of Jesus Christ.” The group first formed in 1993 under the leadership of Don Gabriel. The group met for almost seven years before hosting the first Ozark Mountain Prayer Breakfast in 2001. The event began with about 250 in attendance and now regularly draws over 1,200.
Keynote speaker Clark is a West Point graduate who served in Vietnam as a Military Intelligence Officer who worked undercover operations against Cambodia. He suffered horrific injuries to both legs which required amputation below the knees. In his time in combat, Clark earned a Silver Star, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Air Medal, and Combat Infantryman’s Badge. After leaving the military, he served his nation as a special assistant to Texas Governor Bill Clements from 1979 to 1981, and served in two positions in the President George H.W. Bush administration, first as assistant secretary for Veterans Liaison and Program Coordinator, and then as director of the National Cemetery System of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The annual Don & Dorothy Gabriel Kingdom Builder award will also be given to someone who “contributes to the quality of the community by demonstrating in word and action a dedication and dynamic Christian life.” The award is for someone who “puts others ahead of self” and “lives
by Christian vision and mission.” The 2021 winner of the award was Branson Fire Chief Ted Martin.
More information about the breakfast can be found on their website, ozarkmountainprayerbreakfast.com.

A ‘Legacy of Love” Quilt collection at C of O

‘A Legacy of Love’ quilt collection at C of O . The Ralph Foster Museum on the campus of College of the Ozarks has  a new quilt display.

The College of the Ozarks “A Legacy of Love” Quilting Collection went on display in the museum beginning Saturday, March 19, according to a press release from C of O. The collection was inspired by award-winning author and quilt historian Judy Howard’s quilt donation to the College in 2020, states the release.
The collection seeks to highlight an artform, which C of O says has seen interest waning in recent years. All the quilts and quilt tops have been acquired
by the museum by donations from estates, several of which were from the Midwest region of the United States. “The exhibit will feature quilts chosen from
the museum archives,” Director of Retail Operations at Ralph Foster Museum Kiley Hutcheson said. “(We) will display quilts of varying patterns
and stitch constructs, antique sewing machines, as well as historical recollections.”

The quilts in the exhibit are not available for purchase but the school does have other quilts which can be purchased online at www.store.cofo.edu or at The Keeter Center. For more information visit www.rfostermuseum.com or contact the museum at 417-690- 3407.