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Silver Dollar City honors long-time employees

On June 27, Silver Dollar City held its annual service award ceremony to honor employees achieving significant work anniversary milestones, including employees celebrating several decades of employment at the park and related support or administrative positions.


Following opening prayer at the 7:30 a.m. ceremony, Silver Dollar City Fire District Chief Ted Martin took the mic to speak about everyday heroes, including the many Silver Dollar City employees who know what to say or do to help guests enjoy their day, and who do it with an attitude of serving. A video illustrating that concept in action was accompanied by the song, “Everyday People,” played and sung by park musicians Arbor Season, who provided fitting music for highlights of the ceremony.


Service pins were given for each five-year milestone, and every employee with 20 years and more also received a special gift made by park craftsmen. Those with 20 years received a custom sculpture from Hazel’s Glass; those with 25 years received a framed replica of a themed sign with their name which will be displayed in the park.


Thirty-year employees received a handcrafted pottery platter, and each had the opportunity to share a favorite memory. Musician Greg Bailey of the popular Homestead Pickers said he has been grateful for the opportunities to honor and serve the Lord through his work; Kami Rush said a highlight of her job was helping plan the park’s 50th anniversary celebration and meeting people from the early years; Justin Loftis said each day is an opportunity to help people, love others and encourage others to do the same.


For 35 years of service, employees received a handcrafted mantel clock as tributes were read from their co-workers, compliments such as “A great mentor,” or “So welcoming to new teammates.” The 40-season gift was a handcrafted knife from Mountain Outfitters.


One popular employee receiving 45-season recognition was comedian Terry Wayne Sanders, who received a handcrafted wooden stagecoach replica along with a tribute video and a standing ovation from co-workers, families and friends gathered for the ceremony. Sanders’ multiple characters have inspired and entertained guests from across the U.S. and around the world, and most guests have likely followed his hand-drawn chalk directional arrows to find their way around the park.


Three employees celebrated 50 years with Silver Dollar City this year. Butch Gregory and Larry Sledge are members of Horse Creek Band, and Joleen Holt works in the costume shop helping create the outfits seen around the theme park. Each received a lantern symbolizing Marvel Cave, and dogwood trees will be planted in their honor in the park behind the Wilderness Church.


Sledge and Gregory each were given a custom gold record plaque as a service gift. In a video tribute, many people referred to their down-home friendliness, including Jack Herschend, who shared, “I enjoy watching them engage with their audiences; the people love them so much.”


Joleen Holt, honored for 50 years serving in the costume shop, was escorted on stage by Elvis Presley—or at least a serious look-alike—to receive a custom picture quilt made by her co-workers. “You know how much the costumes matter for the guest experience,” CEO Brad Thomas said in presenting Holt’s award, “and I appreciate how much you genuinely care.”


The entire ceremony, including the number of employees who have worked for many years, was a testament to the faith and values that have made Silver Dollar City a popular family destination. The Globe staff wish to join in congratulating these long-time employees and thanking them for their part in making the Ozarks a wonderful place to live and visit.

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