State representative visits LORA open house
June 5, 2014
Missouri House of Representative Diane Franklin's district contains perhaps Fort Leonard Wood's most prized get-away location -- the Lake of the Ozarks Recreation Area, commonly referred to as LORA.
Franklin used LORA'S Open house, held Saturday, as an opportunity to visit the recreational facility that is located on one of the largest man-made lakes in the nation.
The open house showcased the facility's boating, swimming, camping and other outdoors activities in the recreation area that Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation refer to as a "scenic playground."
Franklin said LORA's presence affects Camden County, for which she is the representative, in several ways.
"The economic input via tourism . . . we're a tourism area, and this facility brings in tourists for us. It's definitely positive for the economy and for the partnership between us and the military," Franklin said.
She said the impact extends beyond LORA and throughout the state; Fort Leonard Wood generates a quarter of a million jobs in one form or another because of its presence.
Those present at the open house were treated to free food, beverages, hay and boat rides and live music by the members of the 399th Army Band featuring Sgt. Christiana Ball, the Army Entertainment's 2013 Rising Star, as soloist for the three-hour event.
According to Luchrisa White, recreation specialist and LORA program manager, LORA provides a place where Soldiers can reconnect with their Families.
"LORA provides a place to get away -- it's like a spot for a little vacation," White said and added that, although most of the guests are from Fort Leonard Wood, visitors originate from nearby Whiteman Air Force Base, throughout the country and from overseas, as well.
"A lot of people tell me that LORA is a hidden secret," White said. "We're trying to get the word out that we're not a secret. The prices are a lot cheaper and, by coming here, they not only can have a good time, but save money as well."
White said they plan to conduct a LORA open house yearly for the area which is exclusive to active-duty military, retirees, National Guard, Reserves, DOD employees with ID cards, Family members and Fort Leonard Wood contract employees.
If Franklin has her way, a future LORA open house will see more of her Missouri House of Representatives colleagues.
"I would like to see an invitation extended to the legislature, in general, to come and visit the recreational center and get a picture of how fine a facility this is as well," Franklin said.
"We know how important the military presence is in the state of Missouri . . . it's about a $3 billion impact to the state," she continued.
"So anything that we can do to communicate to the DOD how important Fort Leonard Wood is to us, to our state and that they keep that presence here is vital," Franklin added.
"The more you know about what you have in your state, the better you are at articulating back on the national level that this is extremely important to us. So it would be good for them to see this facility," he said.
LORA is located 57 miles northeast of Fort Leonard Wood on the Grand Glaize arm of the lake, which offers 1,150 miles of shoreline.
The facility offers fishing and swimming with lifeguards on duty during the summer, boat and jet ski rental, wet boat storage and dry dock, campsites for RVs and tents and a country store.
Call 573.346.5640 to make reservations or for more information about LORA, visit them online at www.fortleonardwoodmwr.com/lake_ozarks.php.
Office hours until Labor Day are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.