The theme of the 2019-2020 Presidential Initiatives is grounded in four R’s: Recruit, Reaffirm, Recognize and Retain. Since announcing the Initiatives at the Annual Meeting in February, dates have been set for some of the events and others have already taken place. In addition to attending the first of our National events in South Boston, I have already presented greetings to both the Children of the American Revolution in Williamsburg and the Daughters of the American Revolution in Richmond, as well as attending ceremonies in both Culpeper and Oak Grove and the National Spring Leadership Meting in Louisville, Kentucky.
The importance of Recruiting is obvious. New members are the life blood of our organization. Recruiting, however, is more than just attracting and enlisting new members. As an incentive for recruiting new members, the Chapter grant program initiated by then President Mike Elston and continued under Past President Pat Kelly will continue. I am assured that the rebate checks to the eligible chapters will be going out in the next week or so. We need to continue our work with the CAR and DAR to obtain referrals of those who might be eligible for membership. Recruiting however also includes getting members to serve on Committees, Chapter, State and National, to serve as officers at those levels, and to attract and encourage youth to participate in our Youth Programs, including the Eagle Scout Program, The ROTC/JROTC Program, The Orations, Essay, Poster and Brochures Programs. Chapter or Chapters participating in the most of these programs will again be recognized by the Wayne and Wink Rouse Award. To facilitate youth participation, financial incentives are essential. The Mark S, Brennan, Jr. Fund has been in the forefront of allowing us as a State Society to increase those incentives. I therefore have challenged the Society to add at least $15,000 to this Fund and I will personally match the first $2,000 raised. My check has already been sent and I ask you to do the same. Chapters having individuals who contribute at least $1,000 will be recognized with a streamer and donations will be counted toward commissions or promotions in the First Virginia SAR Regiment. Contributions should be made payable to Virginia SAR, with the Brennan Fund indicated on the Memo line, and sent to our Society Treasurer, Rick Elofson, 21 Paula Maria Drive, Newport News, Virginia 23606.
The second R is for Reaffirm. Every time we recite the SAR Pledge, we commit ourselves to reaffirm our commitment to defend the principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic against every foe. As a means of doing so, I challenge you to make every effort to attend the four Nationally recognized events in the Commonwealth. The first of these, the Crossing of the Dan, took place the third week of February. The three remaining are Martin’s Station celebrated on May 11, Yorktown on October 19, and Great Bridge in early December. Chapters having members attending all four events will be recognized with a streamer. A monument will be dedicated later in the year honoring the Culpeper Minutemen. Participation there will also be recognized with a streamer. We also will again be joining with the Society of the War of 1812 in Virginia and will be participating in two ceremonies on June 1, the first a grave marking ceremony at the Cedar Grove Ceremony at 10:00 and the second a plaque dedication at 11:30 at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, Virginia. A program to place markers or monuments honoring patriots and War of 1812 veterans buried or memorialized in each of Virginia’s counties at the Courthouse or other significant location, similar to the recognition given to World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and more recent conflicts has been launched, we expect to dedicate one in Warren County this fall, and further hope to continue this project in years to come. We are also looking ahead, and as part of our Strategic Planning will develop a multi-year plan so that future dedications can include the DAR and veteran’s organizations in such recognition programs.
The third R is to Recognize. Here there is some overlap with the second R, but as envisioned, we need to focus on recognizing and rewarding those who participate in our programs, giving their time energy, and money to advance our cause. Our Youth Program participants, compatriots, spouses, schools, businesses, and friends who properly display the flag, public servants, particularly our first responders, and elected community officials all richly deserve recognition. 2019 also marks the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of indentured Afro-American at Jamestown and the Williamsburg Chapter’s its 50th Anniversary.
The last R is for Retain. The challenge here is to communicate with our members, to continuously solicit their input and provide the types of programs that will make them want to get involved. We ended 2018 with a modest but positive growth. Let’s build on it in 2019; it takes a concerted effort on all of our parts.