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 6:47 AM
Updated: Jul 23, 2018 6:47 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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307332

Reported Deaths: 7095
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20757248
Hinds19869408
Harrison17475302
Rankin13307275
Jackson13095243
Madison9886210
Lee9854169
Jones8289160
Forrest7522146
Lauderdale7185237
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Lamar610284
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Washington5279132
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Marshall4267100
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Monroe4056132
Union403575
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Hancock371985
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Tate322681
Pike3177104
Scott310472
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Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
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Attala213273
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Holmes186471
Clay182354
Stone179131
Clarke176676
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163130
Yalobusha158636
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125833
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite119941
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105332
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95126
Humphreys94332
Franklin81723
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518588

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753351487
Mobile37698798
Madison33829494
Tuscaloosa25245443
Montgomery23942565
Shelby23094238
Baldwin20617300
Lee15510165
Calhoun14277311
Morgan14137268
Etowah13660345
Marshall11952219
Houston10379278
Elmore9988200
Limestone9806147
Cullman9467188
St. Clair9422234
Lauderdale9208227
DeKalb8745181
Talladega8042171
Walker7087275
Jackson6753110
Autauga6715103
Blount6480135
Colbert6200130
Coffee5397112
Dale4766110
Russell428238
Franklin419882
Chilton4080109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3892146
Escambia387574
Dallas3526149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305475
Lawrence295295
Winston272272
Bibb256258
Marengo248561
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218675
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176741
Monroe171240
Washington163838
Macon154348
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
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