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Focus Turns to Clean Up at Veterans Memorial Garden in Branson After Vehicle Crashes Into it

Credit Ben Kinel
Damage to Veterans Memorial Garden in Branson

Several people have stepped up to offer help after a vehicle landed in the Veterans Memorial Garden in Branson last week causing thousands of dollars in damage.

The garden is describes on its website as “a gathering place for anyone who wants to remember those who sacrificed so much.”  A news release from the City of Branson last week, said it’s become a landmark for many visitors and residents. 

"He (the driver of the crashed vehicle) just mutilated a whole bunch of crepe myrtle bushes and arborvites and, you know, really pretty stuff, and some of the block walls that we had are going to have to be rebuilt,"  said Ben Kinel, a Master Gardener and former Marine who founded the garden in 2008.

Kinel said Home Depot has volunteered to replace broken blocks in the wall that was damaged and will send a crew to help with cleanup.

It’s estimated that the garden sustained about $5,000 worth of damage.  According to Kinel, the biggest need now is money for plants to replace those that were destroyed and to support the garden in the future.

"If we had 100 people sending us $25 a year, we would be in hog heaven," he said. 

Credit Ben Kinel
Damage to Veterans Memorial Garden in Branson

The Veterans Memorial Garden isn’t a 501(c), according to Kinel.  He and a few other veterans work to maintain the garden and to solicit donations.  Kinel often opens up his own wallet to support the garden. 

Donations can be sent to Veterans Memorial Garden, 136 Rose O’Neill Drive, Branson, MO 65616.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.