19-20 Feb 2016 Omni Hotel, Richmond, VA
several compatriots contributed to this report, most notably Wayne Rouse and Ernie Coggins
The Virginia Society of the SAR held its 126th Annual Meeting at the Omni Hotel in Richmond, VA on February 19th and 20th.. 80 compatriots from 20 of Virginia's 27 chapter attended. The most distinguished guest was President General Tom Lawrence, who officiated at the swearing in of our officers for 2016-17.
The activities began on Friday with a Treasurer, Administrative and Awards Workshop conducted by Virginia SAR Treasurer Rick Elofson and Virginia SAR Secretary Wayne Rouse. The workshop updated secretaries and treasurers and other interested individuals on the latest information. Another workshop, conducted by former President General Joe Dooley, was held on Saturday morning to update registrars on the new online application process.
At the Friday evening Board of Managers Meeting reports were heard form each of the officers and some of the committees. As usual, Ken Wallenborn's Surgeon's Report was worth the trip to Richmond. This year Ken retires as our surgeon and Dr. Kirk Sheap will take over care for our physical and mental health.
Various officers and committee chairmen presented reports on their responsibilities. Of particular note was the report of Flag Committee Chairman Kirk Sheap, who reported that once again the Virginia Society had a perfect 100% participation in awarding flag certificates. Compatriot Sheap also noted that though the society reported missing by one chapter last year, it was discovered that the delinquent chapter had in fact presented a flag certificate and efforts were being made to correct the record.
After the Board of Managers Meeting President Reverdy Wright hosted a reception in the hospitality suite. This was well attended and much business was conducted in a relaxed environment.
Saturday morning in the Membership Meeting additional officer and committee reports were presented. Included at this time were reports from the individual chapters, twenty of whom were represented at the meeting.
The Nominating Committee, represented by Chairman Bill Broadus, presented its nominations for Virginia Society Officers and National Trustees. Those recommendations were:
President: Edward W. Truslow
President-Elect: Michael J. Elston, Esq.
2nd Vice President: Patrick M. Kelly
3rd Vice President: J. Thomas Whetstone, PhD
Secretary/Assistant Treasurer: R. Wayne Rouse
Treasurer: Frederick N. "Rick" Elofson
Chancellor: Eric H. Monday, Esq.
Registrar: J. Michael Taimi
Historian: Larry G. Aaron, D.Min.
Surgeon: Dr. Christopher N. "Kirk" Sheap MD
Chaplain: The Rev. Dr. Roy A. Martin, Jr.
Assistant Secretary: Lance M. Lyngar
Assistant Registrar: David A. Cook
Assistant Registrar: David R. Thomas
Assistant Chaplain: Eugene F. Thomas
The committee also nominated past Virginia SAR President Mark S. Brennan, Sr., Esq. for Vice President General of the Mid Atlantic District. The traditional rotation of this position between the states assures us that compatriot Brennan will be elected to this position in Boston this July. Also nominated for election in July were Reverdy E. Wright, PhD as national Trustee and Edward W. Truslow as Alternate Trustee.
These nominees were then elected by acclamation.
More Awards were given and commissions given in the 1st Virginia Regiment
Next Darrin Schmidt conducted the Josep;h E. Rumbaugh Orations Contest. Six competitors delivered five minute orations on patriotic topics. Darrin Schmidt and President Wright presented the awards.
The program resumed with a Memorial Service for those we have lost in the past year, led by Chaplain Roy Martin and 2nd Vice President Mike Elston. Fourty-four departed compatriots were honored.
After the Memorial Service was the Annual Awards Program
The first award was the presentation of the Daughters of Liberty Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster, to Laura Hazel for her continued support to the Virginia Society in providing expert genealogy research to our registrar and numerous chapters, and not least, for the wreaths she has made for us, such as the one on the stage.
The Public Safety and Heroism Commendation Awards - Bill Collier, Committee Chair.
Law Enforcement Category - The sponsoring chapter is Richmond and the Best Law Enforcement Person of the Year is Deputy Sheriff Barry Bland.
On March 10, 2015, Hanover County Sheriff Department Deputy Barry Bland was alerted to a single vehicle crash into a retention pond. After arrival at the scene and rapid situational assessment, Deputy Bland immediately notified the Emergency Communications Center and entered the water and began efforts to extract the driver from the submerged vehicle. After he had entered the water additional police officers arrived at the scene, struggling with freezing water, having to break window glass, cut the restraining seat belt, and releasing securing features from the victim’s wheel chair, Deputy Bland and others were able to remove the victim from his restraints and place him on the exposed automobile rooftop. On the almost completely submerged automobile roof CPR was administered. After the victim was transported to the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Deputy Bland and the other Officers were treated for hypothermia. As a result of Deputy Bland and other Officers quick actions, disregarding their own personal safety, the life of a handicap individual was saved. This action reflects great credit on Deputy Barry Bland, The Hanover County Sheriff Department, and the rest on the Law Enforcement Community
Fire Safety Category - the sponsoring chapter is Fincastle Resolutions and the Best Fire Safety Person of the Year is Lieutenant Michael Elston.
Lieutenant Michael Elston, of the Salem Fire Department, runs the B shift for Salem's Station 2. He volunteers to fight forest fires out west, he is an EMT and paramedic for Lewis Gale Hospital, adjunct faculty member for both American National University and Jefferson College of Health Sciences, teaches technical rescue operations throughout the East Coast, and volunteers once a month (or more) in Prince Georges County, Maryland, fighting fires for 24 to 72 hours at a time. Lieutenant Elston flies at his own expense to serve as drum major in Line of Duty Funerals or at the annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Services. His Fellow firefighters refer to Lieutenant Elston as a "fireman's fireman". Lieutenant Elston’s actions not only reflect great credit upon himself, but to the Salem Fire department and the rest of the firefighting profession.
Emergency Medical Services Category - the sponsoring chapter is Dan River and the Best Emergency Medical Services Person of the Year is Director James Davis.
Director James Davis, Pittsylvania County Emergency Services, has been coordinator of Emergency Services in Pittsylvania County for more than 20 years. Director Davis developed the county’s E-911 system serving nearly 60,000 residents. He developed Community Emergency Response Training through certified local trainers and certified sign language interpreters, developed the next generation of communication which receives text messages reporting incidents. Pittsylvania County is the first locality in Virginia to have complete IP equipment installation. In summary, Director Davis has devoted his career to providing the best emergency response effort to the citizens of Pittsylvania County and his work brings great credit to himself, Pittsylvania County Emergency Services and the entire emergency medical service profession.
Heroism Category - the sponsoring chapter is Dan River and the Hero of the Year is Fire Captain Larry Costan.
When Captain Larry Coston, of the Bachelor’s Hall Fire Department, drove past a neighbor’s home, he noticed smoke, but nothing unusual. Captain Coston went about his business. Several moments later he noticed flames coming from the back of his neighbor’s house. He quickly grabbed some equipment and ran to the burning home. Using his ax, Captain Coston entered the smoke filled home finding his neighbor asleep in the bedroom. He then got his neighbor out of the burning house as the fire quickly spread throughout the house. Captain Coston’s attention to detail and quick actions not only saved his neighbor’s life but brings great credit to himself, the Bachelor’s Hall Fire Department and the entire firefighting profession.
Rumbaugh Orations Award - Darrin Schmidt, Committee Chair.
Sponsoring chapter of the 1st place winner is George Washington with the winner being Ale Rodriguez. 2nd place winner is Jamie Timmer sponsored by the Richmond Chapter and 3rd place is Connor Ames sponsored by the Fairfax Resolves Chapter.
Knight Essay Award – Richard Sherman, Committee Chair.
Sponsoring chapter of the 1st place winner is James Monroe and the winner is Heather Faison. 2nd place winner is Christopher James Fegley sponsored by the Thomas Nelson, Jr. Chapter and 3rd place is Hannah Wheaton sponsored by the Norfolk Chapter. Please note that Hannah placed second in last year’s competition and it is great to see perseverance from our youth.
JROTC Cadet Award – Spurgeon Keith, Committee Chair.
Sponsoring chapter of the 1st place winner is Culpeper Minute Men and the winner is Cadet William Grimsley. 2nd place goes to Cadet Anthony Ryan Thomas sponsored by the Martin’s Station Chapter and the 3rd place winner is Cadet Jason Schwarzwalder sponsored by the Col. William Grayson Chapter. Again, perseverance has prevailed and Cadet Thomas has moved up to second place from his third place win in 2014.
Eagle Scout Award - Lance Lyngar, Committee Chair
Sponsoring chapter of the 1st place winner is George Mason and the winner is Michael A. Keays. 2nd place winner is Christopher James Fegley sponsored by the Thomas Nelson, Jr. Chapter and 3rd place is Robert J. T. Maloney sponsored by the Fairfax Resolves Chapter.
Eagle Scout Awards, left to right: 1st place winner Michael Keays, sponsored by the George Mason Chapter, Committee Chairman Lance Lyngar, 2nd Place Winner Christopher Fegley, sponsored by the Thomas Nelson, Jr. Chapter, President Wright, 3rd Place Winner RObert Maloney, sponsered by the Fairfax Resolves Chapter, and Thomas Nelson, Jr. Chapter President Bruce Meyer.
Elementary School Poster and Middle School Brochure – Charlie Coale, Committee Chair (Americanism)
Poster - Sponsoring chapter of the 1st place winner is George Washington and the winner is Mark Ransom. Runner up is Teagan Aryawna Lowery sponsored by the Fincastle Resolutions Chapter.
Brochure - Sponsoring chapter of the 1st place winner is George Washington and the winner is Audrey C. Agyin. Runner up is Celab Walter Helsing sponsored by the Fincastle Resolutions Chapter
The Jennings H. Flathers Award for Best Chapter Newsletter – Lance Lyngar, Committee Chair
Newsletter Editor of the Year is Richard B. Gilliland of the George Washington Chapter. Runner up is Richard Newsome of the Williamsburg Chapter.
Best Chapter Website – Lance Lyngar, Committee Chair
Webmaster of the Year for the second consecutive year is Chuck Poland of the Fincastle Resolutions Chapter. The runner up is Jamie Callender of the George Washington Chapter.
Best Chapter Scrapbook
Scrapbook of the Year was won by the Culpeper Minute Men Chapter. Runner up recognition is given to Robert Halpern of the Richmond Chapter.
The Donald W. Baldwin Award is for the greatest numerical gain in membership. The winner is the Fairfax Resolves Chapter with a gain of 28 members.
The Carroll Wright Award recognizes the Chapter with the largest percentage of membership growth over the previous year. The winner is the Culpeper Minute Men Chapter with a 32.79% increase in membership.
The next awards recognize Chapter excellence in Revolutionary War Graves Registration, History Day Support and the Forgotten Patriots Program. Streamers and/or gold stars are awarded.
Revolutionary War Graves Registration — Mike Lyman, Committee Chair.
Col. William Grayson – 1 Star
George Washington – 2 Stars
Forgotten Patriots – Steve Bush, Committee Chair.
Col. George Waller, 2 Stars
Col. James Wood, 2 Stars for a VA patriot
Col. William Grayson, 2 Stars for a VA patriot
Fort Harrison, 4 Stars for two VA patriots
George Washington, 10 stars including three VA patriots
Williamsburg, 2 Stars
History Day Support – Don Swain, Committee Chair.
Col. Fielding Lewis
Col. James Wood II
Col. William Grayson
Culpeper Minute Men
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
The Chapter Excellence Award recognizes Chapters that, in a given year, do an excellent job on a wide range of programs. This is the second highest Chapter award presented by the Virginia Society. For 2015, nineteen chapters have been selected to receive this award:
Col. Fielding Lewis
Col. George Waller
Col. James Wood II
Col. William Grayson
Culpeper Minute Men
Gen. Daniel Morgan
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
The Best Chapter Awards go to the top ranked Chapters in each of four size categories. To earn this award, a Chapter must perform well in virtually all program areas.
The Best Small Chapter for 2013 with 1 to 24 members is:
The Best Medium Chapter for 2013 with 25 and 49 members is:
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
The Best Large Chapter for 2013 with 50 to 99 members is:
Col. James Wood II
The Best Very Large Chapter for 2013 with 100 plus members is:
Next President General Tom Lawrence installed our officers for 2016-17, except for the society president.
From the left: PG Tom Lawrence, Virginia SAR 1st Vice President Mike Elston, 2nd Vice President Pat Kelly, 3rd Vice President Tom Whetstone, Secretary Wayne Rouse, Treasurer Rick Elofson, bob Vogler for Chancellor Eric Monday, Barry Schwoerer for Registrar Mike Taimi, Historian Larry Aarons, Surgeon Kirk Sheap, Chaplain Roy Martin.
Teh colors were then retired by the Color Guard
The evening began with a social hour, followed by the Formal Banquet, then a reception, hosted by President Ed Truslow.
Social time before the Formal Banquet
At the beginning of the Formal Banquet there were greetings from several organizations and several awards presented.
Next, President General Tom Lawrence installed Ed Truslow as the President of the Virginia Society for 2016-17.
The traditional First Lady's necklace was then presented to Laura Truslow.
Gifts from the Virginia Society were presented to President General Tom Lawrence and his First Lady Mickey Jo. photos below by Ernie Coggins