The victims of Thursday’s Ride the Ducks Boat Incident that killed 17 people were remembered in a Memorial Service Sunday Afternoon at the College of the Ozarks Williams Memorial Chapel hosted by the school in conjunction with the City of Branson.

First Responders Praying at College of the Ozarks (image courtesy of College of the Ozarks)

Branson Mayor Karen Best, one of several speakers at the service, said it’s important to remember all of those involved.

“Today, we honor you. We honor the seventeen lives that were lost. We honor the fourteen survivors. And we honor the many heroes who did everything in their power to save lives, jumping in waters that were putting their lives in jeopardy,” Best said. “To those families on the ducks on July 19, 2018, please know you will always, always, always be a part of our family. And you will always remain in our hearts. We love you and God bless.”

Best and First Presbyterian Church Pastor Tom Wilcox joined College of the Ozarks President Dr. Jerry Davis and other college Staff Members in offering words of encouragement.

“Today we are all family,” said Davis. “We are here today to honor the memory of those who lost their lives in the tragedy on Table Rock Lake Thursday evening. We are here to offer comfort to those who have been affected by this tragedy in so many, many different ways.  We appreciate the fact that you made this a priority, and we think that your presence truly reflects the very heart of the Ozarks.”

Williams Memorial Chapel at College of the Ozarks (image courtesy of College of the Ozarks)

Justin Carswell, College of the Ozarks vice president for Christian Ministries and dean of the chapel, brought a message of encouragement for the friends and families of the victims.

“As I traveled through our community Thursday evening and over the past few days, what I have seen, heard in conversations, and overheard as I passed by is the sense of shock, grief, and disbelief as a result of the tragic and devastating events,” Carswell said. “In this community, known for its hospitality for all people, it’s difficult to find the words to say.

A capacity gathering of 400 attended the service at the chapel plus more than 300 viewers watched on the school’s Facebook Page.

The program also included a Scripture reading, hymns sung by the congregation, and a benediction by Steve Martin, the Nixa, Missouri Fire chaplain, and pastor of Union Hill Church of Christ in Nixa.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation and the boat which sank during the storm Thursday night is expected to be lifted out of the water today.  Listen to the memorial service here.

Scott McCaulley of Missourinet affiliate KRZK contributed to this report