SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts

Friends, family remember those lost in duck boat tragedy

On Friday night, hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects to the 17 victims lost in the duck boat tragedy....

Posted: Jul 23, 2018 7:47 AM
Updated: Jul 23, 2018 7:47 AM

On Friday night, hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects to the 17 victims lost in the duck boat tragedy.

For the loved ones of those 17 lives lost, they are struggling to cope with the sudden loss. They're missing their family and friends.

On Saturday morning, two sons who lost their mother came to pick up her vehicle to drive it back to Illinois.

They said they believe Leslie Dennison saved her granddaughter's life before losing her own when the Ride the Ducks boat sank.

"My niece basically was telling my brother that my mother had picked up my niece to hand to somebody," Brian Dennison said. "When she turned around, grandma was gone."

That same morning, William Asher and Rosemarie Hamann's friends gathered mementos, messages, and flowers left on the couple's vehicle to take them back home to St. Louis.

Their friends, who rushed to Branson from St. Louis, describe the couple as inseparable. They call them Bill and Rose.

"They never had any ill words for anyone," their friend Christie Herpers said. "Their life was full."

Bill loved to DJ and Rose loved to dance.

They dedicated their free time to raising funds to benefit veterans and their families. They were members of the SSgt. Ron Bozikis Memorial Organization.

"She loved her veterans," said Russell McKay, another friend. "I'm going to miss her so bad. I love her dearly. We talked every day. We never hung up without saying, 'I love you.' She was a wonderful person."

The couple had come to Branson to celebrate Rose's birthday.

"She and Bill; they were a pair," said Staff Sergeant Ron Bozikis. "I was totally devastated. I've cried as much as I could cry. I going to miss her so much. She was my right hand."

"We are losing great people, but you have to go positive," Herpers said. "They are together. We'll miss them."

The friends said they are lost without them and are still in disbelief that they died while on vacation.

They then said one last prayer near their friends' vehicle before heading home.

"We have great memories, is what counts," Herpers said. "Tell everyone that's what counts because you don't know when the next tragedy hits."

"Take a moment and hang on to your loved ones," she said.

The mayor of Branson said that, now, the community is preparing to celebrate and honor the victims.

"It's been a roller coaster of emotions over the past few days," said Mayor Karen Best. "Anytime you lose a life, it's always heartbreaking, heart-wrenching."

"We are a very close community and we meet no strangers," she said. "Can you come to Branson, you are a part of our family. So when these lives were lost, we lost part of our family. We had not met some of them, but they were still part of our family."

"We are usually a community of smiles, but we've been a community of tears and grieving," she said. "We've tried to stand by the families and provide them with as many hugs, tears, as many comforts as we can."

The mayor also said that, during this tragic time, they are learning about heroism and kindness.

"One of the counselors that was working with the young man that survived, when he got to city hall his socks were soaking wet," she said. "So, the counselor took his socks, took them into the restroom and dried them for him."

"For that young man, that was everything to him that night," she said. "You're cold and you're wet. It's hard to think of anything else other than taking care of some basic means. It's the small things."

The mayor commended all of the first responders and bystanders who jumped into action to try to help.

West Lafayette
Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 48°
Kokomo
Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 39°
Rensselaer
Mostly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 34°
Fowler
Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 48°
Williamsport
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 45°
Crawfordsville
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 40°
Frankfort
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 40°
Delphi
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 39°
Monticello
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 39°
Logansport
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 39°
River flooding, some showers/t'showers, frost, fog & then heat, humidity & severe weather in one highly-varied forecast!
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 729716

Reported Deaths: 13418
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion998331740
Lake53638968
Allen40585676
St. Joseph35651550
Hamilton35569408
Elkhart28514442
Tippecanoe22386219
Vanderburgh22300397
Porter18725308
Johnson17933379
Hendricks17209315
Clark12951191
Madison12649339
Vigo12440246
LaPorte11890211
Monroe11883170
Delaware10676186
Howard9908216
Kosciusko9401117
Hancock8275141
Bartholomew8061155
Warrick7778155
Floyd7657178
Wayne7042199
Grant7041174
Boone6690101
Morgan6563139
Dubois6153117
Marshall6039111
Dearborn580478
Cass5803105
Henry5713103
Noble560383
Jackson501673
Shelby490796
Lawrence4531120
Harrison435472
Gibson435092
DeKalb427885
Clinton427153
Montgomery423888
Whitley395639
Huntington390680
Steuben387057
Miami381566
Knox371990
Jasper364947
Putnam359960
Wabash353679
Adams341254
Ripley339570
Jefferson330681
White313854
Daviess296799
Wells291481
Decatur284892
Fayette280462
Greene278585
Posey271433
LaGrange266170
Scott265653
Clay259747
Washington240632
Randolph240281
Spencer232131
Jennings229949
Starke216353
Fountain212246
Sullivan211542
Owen199256
Fulton195440
Jay194730
Carroll188520
Orange182954
Perry182837
Rush173125
Vermillion169243
Franklin168035
Tipton162845
Parke146216
Blackford134732
Pike133834
Pulaski116745
Newton107734
Brown102041
Crawford99714
Benton98614
Martin88615
Warren82015
Switzerland7898
Union71010
Ohio56811
Unassigned0415

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events