President’s Piece September 2016

Posted in: What's New, News

Our month started out with a rousing success as we chartered our 27th chapter, the Patriot Isaac Carter Chapter in the North Harlowe are near Havelock, NC on 3 Sep 16.  The current President General, J. Michael Tomme, three former PGs, David Sympson, Joe Dooley and Lindsey Brock as well as South Atlantic VPG Larry Fehrenbaker attended this historic event.  Treasurer General Warren Alter and Genealogist General John Sinks also attended.  This was the first chapter in the nation to be named after a free man of color who fought as a patriot of the American Revolution.  It is also the first chapter to be composed of primarily African-American descendants of the 14 Forgotten Patriots of the North Harlowe area and primarily from Isaac Carter.  Kudos to compatriots Edward E. Carter, Jim Wood and Guy Higgins for orchestrating this fantastic event and hosting over 200 guests.  Chapter President Edward E. Carter took the oath of office and gave a welcoming speech that ended with a standing ovation.  Well done!
View the chartering ceremony on YouTube:

Chartering Ceremony
Patriot Isaac Carter Chapter members

The next Thursday, Compatriot Chuck Collins attended the 2nd Annual Wounded Warriors Battalion Symposium at Camp LeJeune where we offered the SAR Operation Ancestry Search program to the Recovering Service Members (RSMs) as they endured their medical procedures necessary for their transition back to active duty or to civilian life.  There were over 120 RSMs and another 80 caretakers in attendance along with about 40 different organizations who also offered assistance to the RSMs.

I attend my chapter meeting on Saturday, 10 Sep and enjoyed the camaraderie that comes with meeting with good friends with common goals of patriotism and remembering our Revolutionary War history.  We discussed plans for our Victory at Yorktown dinner meeting in October and Wreaths Across America in December.

The following weekend was extremely taxing for the NC Color Guard.  Senior VP led the national color guard at the Vigil at Washington’s tomb.  Four of the nine participating compatriots, George Strunk, Ron Bonham, John Elliot and John Allen were from North Carolina.

Vigil at Washington's Tomb
Vigil at Washington’s Tomb led by Sr VP George Strunk

NC Color Guard commander, John Thornhill represented the state at the Clinton, NC Constitution Day “Bells Across America” program led by the Richard Clinton chapter of the DAR.  John spoke to the crowd emphasizing, “We’re here to celebrate the Constitution, a living document.”

Immediate past NC President, Tim Berly and I represented North Carolina at the Gathering at Sycamore Shoals in Elizabethton, TN.  It was good to visit the site of the initial formation of the Overmountain Men in Tennessee.

On 20 Sep 16, I was fortunate enough to be invited back to the South Brunswick MS 8th grade to present a program during Constitution Week.  I reviewed the history of our NC Flags, described the clothing a patriot would have worn and finally taught drill using General von Steuben’s technique; I taught six volunteers; they each taught two more students and then the entire 8th grade participated in the drill exercise.  There was great audience enthusiasm throughout the assembly.

The Mecklenburg chapter completed a dedication of a monument for Patriot Ephraim Brevard in the Old Settler’s Cemetery in uptown Charlotte on 24 Sep 16.  Although his actual grave site is unknown, he must be recognized as a signer of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and for his participation at the Battle of Moore’s Creek.

Grave marking in Charlotte
Meckleburg CG marks grave of Ephraim Brevard

In personnel actions, I have asked Compatriot Guy Higgins to resume his work as the Patriot Graves Registry Committee chair and asked him also to blend in the Patriot Biographies effort for the state.  We have over 1000 compatriots who are buried in North Carolina and many will be recognized by our chapters during grave markings in the coming months.  These patriots’ biographies should be added to the national database.

The month ended with strong participation from North Carolina compatriots at the SAR Trustees Leadership meeting in Louisville, KY.  Senior VP George Strunk, Trustee Tim Berly, SAR Foundation President Sam Powell, District 4 Foothills VP Jay Joyce, Color Guard Commander John Thornhill,

Nathanael Greene portrayal
Dan McMichael portrays MG Nathanael Greene

Past Chaplain General A. Clark Wiser, Past Presidents Frank Horton and Jim Wood, Guy Higgins and Bill   McCown joined me at the meeting.  Compatriots Sam Powell, Jay Joyce, and Tim Berly arrived early to attend committee meetings.  NC Compatriots met at the Theater Marketplace Restaurant on Thursday evening to enjoy fellowship and a meal.  John Thornhill and A. Clark Wiser participated in the Candidates Forum to end the evening.  The next day was replete with committee meetings and the compatriots spread out to attend as many meetings as possible to learn the will of the SAR on various programs; I personally attended the Patriot Biographies, Americanism, Patriot Index/Revolutionary War Graves, Patriot Outreach, Color Guard, SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution and the Operation Ancestor Search committee meetings.  As the combined national color guard supported by George Strunk, Jim Wood, Sam Powell and myself, presented the colors during the opening ceremonies, the evening ended with a banquet with guest speaker Noah Lewis portraying Edward “Ned” Hector, one of 5,000 men of color who fought in the American Revolution.  Saturday morning started early with the SAR 1000 breakfast and continued with the Trustees meeting that lasted the entire day.  The last committee meeting I attended was the Council of State Presidents.  That evening I attended the Saturday banquet with guest speaker, Dan McMichael who portrayed MG Nathanael Greene.  Our color guard participation expanded to include Tim Berly as we retired the colors for the banquet and the Leadership meeting.  All that was left for the weekend was the drive back to Wilmington; this was a sunrise to sunset activity for us.

Now is the season for us to reconcile our chapter rosters with the national member database and request dues from current compatriots.  This is a key time in working on retention of current members.  As I write, we have 1117 members in the North Carolina Society; we started with 977 members in January.  Through excellent work by our chapter registrars to assist new members with their applications and many compatriots reinstating, our membership is strong; let us work to keep our society membership.  PG J. Michael Tomme has placed an emphasis upon increasing the financial support of our youth awards contest.  He has challenged each state society to provide $1,000 towards the youth awards.  He has offered $10,000 if the specified challenge is met.  As you prepare to pay your society, state and chapter dues, please consider adding a charitable donation to the youth contest(s) of your choosing which are supported by the SAR:

Eagle Scout essay contest
Enhanced JROTC essay contest
Rumbaugh Oration contest
Knight Essay  contest
American History Teacher contest
Middle School Brochure contest
Elementary School Poster contest

In November we celebrate Veterans’ Day.  We have many of our society members who are veterans and should be recognized by both the North Carolina Society and the National Society Veterans Committee by including them in the National Veterans Corps.  The “SAR Veterans Bugle” dated 23 May 2016 has the most current list of veterans recognized by the National Veterans Committee.

If you are a veteran and not recognized on this list, please let me know.

In December, the SAR coordinates with the national program “Wreaths Across America” to honor veterans in cemeteries across the nation.  Our society is again supporting the program by donating wreaths to be presented for $15 each.  This is a great time to honor your patriot(s) by purchasing a wreath his/their honor.  This year I will be a speaker at the Wilmington National Cemetery representing the North Carolina Society SAR. If you are willing to participate, please go to this site and DONATE a wreath in honor of your patriot.

Please review the coming events on our state calendar for many grave markings and District meetings in the Northeast and Mountain Districts.