There were plenty of folks who headed to Silver Dollar City on Saturday morning for the usual reasons: thrill rides, sweet treats and craftsmen at work.
But about 500 — including dozens of law enforcement officers — were there for a more solemn occasion. That morning, Silver Dollar City dedicated a 30-foot monument in honor of all law enforcement personnel past and present.
The ceremony featured performances by Branson entertainers the Haygoods, Roy “Dusty” Rogers Jr. and Cassandre Faimon-Haygood, but the highlight of the ceremony was when 10 law enforcement officers took the stage to receive plaques honoring their commitment to protecting their respective jurisdictions. Those participating included representatives from the Branson, Branson West, Indian Point, Springfield and Joplin police departments; Stone and Taney county sheriff’s departments; the Missouri Highway Patrol; the DEA and the Secret Service.
Springfield police Sgt. Curt Ringgold, who was among those on hand for the ceremony, said, “It was kind of an honor to be recognized.”
Ringgold said he thought the monument was terrific, but the day was also special because it gave him and his peers an opportunity to spend time together under happy circumstances, rather than being drawn together to resolve criminal issues.
“I’ve been shaking hands and seeing buddies I haven’t seen in a long time,” said Ringgold, who was spending the day at the theme park with his family.
“In the law enforcement field, we deal with a lot of negative things ... but how many times do we get to be called to do a good thing?” Ringgold said.
Saturday’s celebration marked the culmination of 22 months of work, said Merrill Puckett Miller, vice president of guest experiences for Herschend Family Entertainment, the parent company of Silver Dollar City.
“We said at the end of the day, the good guys always win,” said Miller, whose team came up with the concept and design of Outlaw Run.
While she said that’s a fine slogan for a roller coaster, they wanted to create something more meaningful. “We wanted to have a monument that’s permanent,” she said.
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