Senior Sam Dantzler has been named the DAR Good Citizen for William Byrd High School for 2018-2019, as well as the District VII Virginia DAR Good Citizen for 2018. Dantzler was recognized at the Roanoke Valley Chapter of the DAR (RVCDAR) meeting on March 9 at St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church in Vinton. He is the son of Alyce and David Dantzler.
Chapter Regent Sharon Menzies and RVCDAR Good Citizen Chair Shannon Campbell presented the local award to Dantzler. The District award was presented by Carolyn Kirk, chair of the VADAR District VII Good Citizens Committee.
The DAR Good Citizen is nominated by senior classmates. The award recognizes individuals who possess outstanding qualities of dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism in their homes, schools, and communities.
Once a student is chosen as the DAR Good Citizen, he or she is then invited to participate in the scholarship portion of the program and write a timed essay on a topic involving “Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving It.”
Students are given one hour to write their essay answering a question they receive sight unseen. This year’s question was “What new challenges will America face as we move forward into the future?” Dantzler read his winning essay to the membership to much acclaim, on his belief that partisanship is the biggest challenge America is currently facing. His essay has advanced to state competition.
Dantzler told the members that the DAR has been part of his family for many years— his great-grandmother, grandmother, and aunt have been members.
Dantzler plans to attend Randolph Macon College in Ashland in the fall and is considering a major in political science. He will also play football for Randolph Macon. He has received a great deal of recognition during his high school years playing varsity football at WBHS. He lettered in his sophomore, junior, and senior years. He made the All-Conference Team as a sophomore; First Team All-District Offense and Defense as a junior; First Team All-Region Offense as a senior; Second Team All-District Quarterback and Second Team All-District Running Back as a senior; and First Team All-District Defense as a senior.
He is a DECA State qualifier, a member of the Virginia Boys State of the American Legion, has volunteered with the William Byrd Freshman Mentorship Program, and is a member of the Leo and BETA Clubs.
At the March 9 meeting, the RVCDAR administered the Oath of Membership to three new members: Stacey Brugh, Valeria Via, and Stacey Harvey, who have completed their paperwork demonstrating lineage to an American Patriot of the American Revolution. Marcia Dupree was welcomed as a new associate member.
Secretary Cindy Higgins was recognized for completing the rigorous New Horizons Course, which provides leadership training for DAR members. She has been nominated to serve as the next Chapter Regent.
Barbara Helms presented a talk on “Following in the Footsteps of the Bedford Boys in World War II.” She grew up in Bedford during the World War II years and knew those from Bedford killed on D-Day as friends, family, fellow church members, and neighbors. Thirty-four young men from Bedford, all serving as reserves, trained for 20 months specifically for the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944.
Nineteen of the Bedford Boys were killed during the invasion, including more than one son in several families. Some were killed in their boats as they prepared to disembark on the beach. No other community lost as many soldiers as Bedford per capita.
Helms reminisced about the town of Bedford during the war years and its support of the war effort with all industries converted to contributing to manufacturing goods used by the troops.
She spoke of the attitude of the British troops toward the American soldiers before D-Day, who viewed them as “overpaid, oversexed (stealing away their girlfriends), and over there.”
She recalled several flag-draped caskets returning a year later to Bedford. Eleven of the soldiers were buried at the American Cemetery in Normandy while eight were brought home.
Helms quoted from the prayer of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in announcing the D-Day invasion: “Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity… They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home. Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.”
Helms plans to return to Europe in June for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
The RVCDAR chapter meets at St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church in Vinton on the second Saturday of most months and is well known for involvement in many community service projects in Vinton and throughout the valley each year. For information about the local Roanoke Valley Chapter, call Sharon Menzies at 890-6571.