In the past 39 hours we have been on five planes, touched down in three separate countries, said goodbye to five of our Veterans in San Francisco, and the remaining seven were warmly embraced by an official welcome home by hundreds of people in the Springfield airport. This incredible moment was long overdue……it was the welcome home they never received. Words cannot adequately describe what we have experienced these past two weeks. To say that this is a once in a lifetime educational experience is an understatement. We gained a small understanding of the emotions of war and we were given the opportunity to walk alongside our Vietnam Veterans as they relived emotional experiences that would forever impact their lives. Coming back to Vietnam allowed many of these brave souls the chance to gain a sense of closure. These memories will never be forgotten, and we take pride in the fact that we are charged with retelling the heroic stories of these 12 brave men. Their story must never be forgotten.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many individuals who made this trip possible. A trip like this requires help from just about everyone within the campus community. So first, we would like to thank everyone at College of the Ozarks, especially Dr. Jerry C. Davis and the Board of Trustees. Their vision and support of this program is what has made this such a success. Thank you to Deans and College Vice Presidents for their support. Thank you to Diana Winkle for helping with logistical support. Thank you to Nurse Lori, whose kind heart and medical expertise is beyond compare. Also, a huge thanks to Sara Franks. This trip was successful and/or possible because of the long hours and relentless work ethic that Mrs. Franks puts into the program. She ensures that we have a smooth enjoyable trip. No details are missed under her guidance. Thank you to Valor Tours and John Dewing for the countless behind the seen hours spent orchestrating this trip. Thank you to our photographer John Luck for capturing this incredible journey. Finally, we would like to say thanks to everyone who has followed us on this amazing journey, and the families who were willing to once again send their loved ones back to Vietnam. Again, thank you to everyone (and everyone we’ve failed to mention) who has made this program the success that it is.
We cannot end this blog without mentioning Dr. Fred and Mrs. Rachel Mullinax. They are the true life and spirit behind this amazing program. The Mullinax’s have dedicated their lives to educating and serving people. Through their leadership, the College’s Patriotic Travel Program has changed the lives of college students and our nation’s finest heroes. Dr. and Mrs. Mullinax have successfully overseen over twenty patriotic trips to some of our most iconic battle sites across the world. It has been a true honor to be in their presence and under their leadership. Fred and Rachel, THANK YOU for your servanthood and Christ like leadership. We can’t imagine another trip without you. Enjoy your retirement!
2016 Vietnam Patriotic Travel Group