COFO Normandy Photo 1

Press Release

Twenty College of the Ozarks students traveled to Europe on a 12-day trip as part of the Patriotic Education Travel Program, June 2-13, visiting Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. They also visited London, Brussels, and Amsterdam.

This trip marked the College’s 11th tour to Europe, but it was the 24th Patriotic Education Travel Program trip. Previous tours took students to the battlefields of World War II, Cold War, Korean War, and Vietnam War.

Bryan Cizek, director of patriotic activities, oversaw the planning and implementation of the trip.

“This trip truly enriched my understanding of sacrifice,” said Emily Braden, senior business administration and public relations double major. “These men were often younger than we are now, and they bravely served on foreign soil for people they would never meet. They understood how important freedom is, so they willingly sacrificed their own. It is now our duty to keep that sacrifice alive.”

While on the trip, students had the opportunity to see Westminster Abbey and the Churchill War Rooms in London, England. In the Normandy region of France, students visited Pointe du Hoc and attended an event commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

“To hear the stories and stand in the presence of the men who survived the hellish assault was absolutely riveting,” said Jordan Sutton, senior criminal justice major, about the servicemen who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. “No words of mine will ever do justice to the soldiers who wrote history with their deeds. Above all, I am thankful that such men have lived and that I have had the opportunity to hear their stories. They will not be forgotten.”

Student participants:

  • Cassidy Anderson, senior social work major from Harrison, Arkansas
  • Tyler Bleau, junior business administration management major from Nixa, Missouri
  • Emily Braden, senior business administration and public relations double major from Sikeston, Missouri
  • Kortney Cambers, senior public relations major from Neosho, Missouri
  • Ryleigh Clark, junior nutrition and dietetics major from Springfield, Missouri
  • Benjamin Cody, senior accounting major from Cookeville, Tennessee
  • Spenser Cross, senior history education major from Centerview, Missouri
  • Justice Daniel, junior criminal justice major from Republic, Missouri
  • Ty Durnell, junior computer science major from Willow Springs, Missouri
  • Kaylee Henry, senior elementary education major from Nixa, Missouri
  • Natalie Hensarling, senior music theater and marketing double major from Olathe, Kansas
  • Bethany Marteney, senior nursing major from Riley, Kansas
  • Jordan Mitchell, senior elementary education major from Malden, Missouri
  • Caleb Nichols, senior public relations major from Russellville, Missouri
  • Lindsay Pemberton, senior speech communication major from Lebanon, Missouri
  • Jonathan Plummer, senior business administration major from Branson, Missouri
  • Mary Reed, senior psychology major from Roland, Arkansas
  • Christian Slater, senior computer science major from Spokane, Missouri
  • Jordan Sutton, senior criminal justice major from Salem, Missouri
  • Matthew Weathermon, senior public relations and history double major from Marionville, Missouri


  • Bryan Cizek, director of patriotic activities
  • David Dalton, professor of history
  • Col. James Schreffler, assistant professor of military science
  • Capt. Caleb Dunnam, instructor of military science
  • 1st Lt. Alex Williams, instructor of military science
  • Rick Hughes, vice president for vocational programs and chief financial officer, and wife, Elizabeth Hughes
  • Lori Vanderpool, clinic administrator and patriotic travel nurse, and husband, Kent Vanderpool