The town of Osceola, Arkansas is in mourning over the deaths of Steve and Lance Smith.
14-year-old Loren Smith survived and is in the hospital, with her mother by her side. Osceola is about 70 miles North of Memphis.
Steve and Lance Smith were both active members of Osceola Church of Christ. Steve Smith was a deacon at the church and Lance Smith was baptized there last year. Many people in the community who knew them, say they lived their lives serving others.
“Sunday night, this past Sunday night, Lance had just given a devotional. The first time he had ever given that devotional,” said Will Hester, Lead Minister with Osceola Church of Christ.
Hester hopes he’s about to wake up from a bad dream after hearing two of his church members Steve and Lance Smith were among the 17 killed after the “Ride the Ducks” boat they were in capsized in Branson, Missouri.
“They were people of intense character, they were humble. They were kind, they made sure they put people before themselves,” Hester explained.
Hester said one of the family members, 14-year-old Loren Smith saved a young girl’s life and is being deemed a hero.
“She said my first thought was dive. So, she dove as far as she could in the water, grabbed her feet and pushed her up to the top of the water and got her to where that little child could float,” Hester said.
Steve Smith is a retired teacher. His father was a previous superintendent of Osceola Schools. Smith’s wife Pam, who did not go on the boat is an assistant principal.
“Lance was a well-liked young man. In fact, Steve was one of our retired teachers a couple of years ago. Loren was getting ready to go to the 8th grade,” said Alfred Hogan, Superintendent of Osceola School District.
“My children are devastated. My nieces and nephews are devastated, and we lost a good man, a deacon of a church. My heart goes it to his family,” said Crystal Thomas.
Osceola Church of Christ is setting up a memorial scholarship in Steve and Lance Smith’s honor. The church is accepting donations. To donate make checks or money orders out to the “Lance and Steve Smith Excellence of Character Memorial Scholarship Fund.” Donations can be sent to .