Springfield, MO (STL.News) Springfield Mayor Ken McClure and Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris are inviting the whole town to greet more than 300 service members from U.S. Army Fort Leonard Wood at a welcome rally 10 a.m. Monday, December 23, in front of Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, 1935 South Campbell. The City and Bass Pro have teamed with other businesses, nonprofit organizations and individual donors to host a day these service members will never forget, McClure said.
McClure learned that Fort Leonard Wood typically stands down for two weeks over the holidays, but each year there are several hundred soldiers who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to go home.
Service members from the Army, Marines and Air Force stationed at Fort Leonard Wood are not able to make it home for Christmas and the holidays and wanted to host them as a home for the holidays, if only for one day. The Springfield community responded enthusiastically.
Charter buses carrying the service members are scheduled to arrive in Springfield at Bass Pro at 10 a.m. The Bear Brass 135th U.S. Army Band will play and citizens will be provided flags to wave as the men and women make their way from the buses to the stage in front of Bass Pro.
McClure will proclaim Dec. 23, 2019 officially Fort Leonard Wood Day in Springfield and recognize high-ranking military officials for their service in our state and country. The service members will be given tour of the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium and served lunch in White River Conference Room, all courtesy of Bass Pro.
Service Members’ Schedule of Events:
Following the visit to Bass Pro and Wonders of Wildlife, service members will take excursions to several area attractions, including Andy B’s Entertainment; Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park and The Historic Gillioz Theatre for a viewing of “Christmas Vacation”. The evening ends at Jordan Valley Ice Park at a “Taste of Springfield” dinner and holiday show.
More than a dozen organizations have chipped in to help fund and provide in-kind services, says event organizer Cora Scott. Partners and sponsors include:
All-American Rental, American National, Andy’s Frozen Custard, Andy B’s, Arris’ Pizza, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, City of Springfield, Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Central Bank, Corwin Automotive of Springfield, GameStop, Gillioz Theatre, Harry T’s BBQ, Killian Construction, Lucy’s Chinese, Mexican Villa, Ozarks Technical Community College, Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, Springfield Hotel Lodging Association, Springfield-Greene County Park Board – Jordan Valley Ice Park, United Way of the Ozarks, Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park, Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium.
How Can the Public Help?
The public can show support by attending the welcome rally at 10 a.m., Monday, Dec. 23 in front of Bass Pro. Donations to help cover event expenses are still welcomed. To donate, visit CauseMomentum.org/projects/homefortheholidays. Visit SGFHomefortheHolidays.org for the full schedule as the event draws near, and join the Facebook event to stay up to date on the details.
United Way of the Ozarks is collecting donations through CauseMomentum.org, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ crowdsourcing platform, to help give these service members an unforgettable holiday. Donations are tax deductible.