February 28, 2016
I am pleased to report two significant outcomes affecting the Virginia Society from this past weekend's NSSAR Leadership meeting in Louisville.
I will try to keep you informed of significant news along the way during my term as your President.
Best to all,
Sons of the American Revolution
Past President (2011-2012) Williamsburg Chapter
On February 27, 1766, one hundred and fifteen Northern Neck patriots assembled in Leedstown, VA, to support a proposal written by Richard Henry Lee, in protest of the British crown’s imposition of the Stamp Act. This act of courage was a milestone in the path that led to our independence.
On Saturday, February 27th, 2016, a similar number of modern patriots and community leaders gathered at Stratford Hall, Richard Henry Lee’s boyhood home, to note the 250th anniversary of the “Leedstown Resolves”. The Virginia Society provided the color guard and seven wreaths from participating chapters: Colonel Fielding Lewis, Culpeper Minutemen, James Monroe, Norfolk, Richard Henry Lee, Richmond, and Thomas Nelson, Jr.
John and Thomas Belfield, signers of the Leedstown Resolves, were represented by their descendant, Charles Belfield, president of the James Monroe Chapter. Charles Belfield portrayed his ancestor John Belfield as part of the program that highlighted noteworthy signers of the resolves.
In April, the patriots of 1766 would learn that six days prior to the signing of the Leedstown Resolves, Parliament had rescinded the Stamp Tax, but also passed the American Colonies Act, better known as the Declaratory Act. In little more than ten years Richard Henry Lee would introduce another resolution, to the Second Continental Congress, calling for the colonies’ independence from Great Britain, resulting in the Declaration of Independence. Both he and his brother, Francis Lightfoot Lee, signed both the Leedstown Resolves and the Declaration of Independence. May God bless our patriot ancestors and the country they bequeathed to us during the course of events 250 years ago.
"Roused by danger and alarmed at attempts, foreign and domestic, to reduce the people of this country to a state of abject and detestable slavery by destroying that free and happy condition of government under which they have hitherto lived,
We, who subscribe this paper, have associated and do bind ourselves to each other, to God, and to our country, by the firmest ties that religion and virtue can frame, most sacredly and punctually to stand by and with our lives and fortunes, to support, maintain, and defend each other in the observance and execution of these following articles –
FIRST: We declare all due allegiance and obedience to our lawful Sovereign, George the Third, King of Great Britain. And we determine to the utmost of our power to preserve the laws, the peace and good order of this Colony, as far as is consistent with the preservation of our Constitutional rights and liberty,
SECONDLY: As we know it to be the Birthright privilege of every British subject (and of the people of Virginia as being such) founded on Reason, Law, and Compact; that he cannot be legally tried, but by his peers; that he cannot be taxed, but by consent of a Parliament, in which he is represented by persons chosen by the people, and who themselves pay a part of the tax they impose on others. If, therefore, any person or persons shall attempt, by any action, or proceeding, to deprive this Colony of these fundamental rights, we will immediately regard him or them, as the most dangerous enemy of the community; and we will go to any extremity, not only to prevent the success of such attempts, but to stigmatize and punish the offender.
THIRDLY: As the Stamp Act does absolutely direct the property of the people to be taken from them without their consent expressed by their representatives and as in many cases it deprives the British American Subject of his right to trial by jury; we do determine, at every hazard, and paying no regard to danger or to death, we will exert every faculty, to prevent the execution of the said Stamp Act in any instance whatsoever within this Colony. And every abandoned wretch, who shall be so lost to virtue and public good, as wickedly to contribute to the introduction or fixture of the Stamp Act in this Colony, by using stampt paper, or by any other means, we will, with the utmost expedition, convince all such profligates that immediate danger and disgrace shall attend their prostitute purposes.
FOURTHLY: That the last article may most surely and effectually be executed, we engage to each other, that whenever it shall be known to any of this association, that any person is so conducting himself as to favor the introduction of the Stamp Act, that immediate notice shall be given to as many of the association as possible; and that every individual so informed, shall, with expedition, repair to a place of meeting to be appointed as near the scene of action as may be.
FIFTHLY: Each associator shall do his true endeavor to obtain as many signers to this association, as he possibly can.
SIXTHLY: If any attempt shall be made on the liberty or property of any associator for any action or thing to be done in consequence of this agreement, we do most solemnly bind ourselves by the sacred engagements above entered into, at the risk of our lives and fortunes, to restore such associate to his liberty and to protect him in the enjoyment of his property."
In testimony of the good faith with which we resolve to execute this association we have this 27th day of February 1766 in Virginia, put our hands and seals hereto.
25-28 Feb 2016 Brown Hotel, Louisville, KY
The 2016 Spring Leadership meeting was held at the Brown Hotel in Louisville on 25-28 Feb. Twelve Virginia SAR members attended: President Ed Truslow, Immediate past President Reverdy Wright, Trustee Bill Broadus, 1st Vice-President Mike Elston, former PG Bruce Wilcox, former PG Joe Dooley, past President & VPG Larry McKinley, past VPG Andy Johnson, Color Guard Commander Darrin Schmidt, Ernie Coggins,, Peter Davenport, and Bill Schwetke.
One of the first orders of business was the Congress Planning Committee's presentation of their recommendation that Virginia host the 2020 national congress. A vote followed and Virginia was selected by the trustees to host in 2020. This triggers the $6 surcharge on our dues for 2017 and there will be much more news on this to follow. The Congress Planning Committee will conduct a survey after Fall Leadership to pick a city in Virginia for the site of the 2020 congress.
Peter Davenport made a presentation on proposals by the Bylaws, Rules and Resolutions Committee, which he chairs. After the meeting recessed, the attendees gathered to board the Spirit of Jefferson, a paddle-wheeler, for a dinner cruise on the Ohio River.
The highlights of following trustees meetings were the approval to go ahead with the Solid Light plan for our interactive museum on the first floor of the SAR Headquarters building, distribution of a $100k gift, and allowing Family Search to scan our genealogy records.
Friday night's banquet had a Caribbean theme and the speaker was noted author Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy. During the banquet it was announced that the SAR would fund a fellowship for Dr. O'Shaughnessy to study the recently discovered papers of King George III that cover the time of the American Revolution. At the Banquet Dr. O'Shaughnessy gave a very informative talk about the role of the Caribbean theater in the American Revolution.
Virginia SAR attendees, left to right in first row: Cat Schwetke (standing), Bill Schwetke, Doug Collins, Virginia SAR President Ed Truslow, PG Joe Dooley, Andrew Lyngar, Virginia SAR 1st VP Mike Elston (standing), Ernie Coggins (in foreground); standing in back row, left to right: Bill Broadus, Secretary General Mike Tome, Larry McKinley, PG Lindsey Brock, Andy johnson, Darrin Schmidt, Lance Lyngar, and 1st VP Mike Elston.
The NSSAR Nominating Committee presented its nominees for 206-17 General Officers:
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
Today General Greene's crossing of the Dan River with the Southern Army, just ahead of General Cornwallis, was celebrated. This historic event ensured the survival of General Greene's army and its resupply and replenishment with fresh troops. This heroic feat enabled General Greene to inflict a crushing blow on the British at Guilford Court House just a month later and put in action the chain of events that led to General Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown eight months later.
The Virginia SAR was represented by 1st Vice President Ed Truslow, and the President General was represented by Mid-Atlantic District Vice President General George Jones. Members of twenty Virginia SAR Chapters also participated. The Dan River Chapter was the host chapter and past Virginia SAR President Phil Williams was the master of ceremonies.
The celebration included a Friday night dinner at Ernie's Restaurant, featuring a seafood buffet and brief talks from the principals involved in the celebration.
Saturday morning came very cold, but clear. Unfortunately previous snows and high water had left behind mud in the area of the outdoor ceremony, so the festivities were confined to the auditorium at the Prizery in South Boston.
After remarks by local government officials, greetings were presented in behalf o the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution by Mid-Atlantic District VPG George Jones, and on behalf of the Virginia Society by 1st Vice-President Ed Truslow. Then Dan RIver Chapter past President Douglas Powell introduced the keynote speaker, Mrs. Janet Uhlar, author of Freedom's Cost: the story of General Nathanael Greene.
JROTC and Civil Air Patrol Cadets and Leaders then conducted a parade of colors with 17 patriotic flags, and performed a salute to all active and previous military members.
Twenty SAR chapters presented wreaths, then the colors were retired to close the ceremony.