By Debbie Adams
District VII of the Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) held their annual meeting on August 28 at the Vinton War Memorial, celebrating the 65th anniversary of the district.
District VII includes these chapters: Alleghany, Botetourt County, Colonel Abram Penn (Stuart), Colonel William Preston (Roanoke), Craig Valley, Floyd Courthouse, Fort Lewis (Salem), General James Breckinridge (Roanoke), General Joseph Martin (Martinsville), General William Campbell (Radford), Margaret Lynn Lewis (Roanoke), Nancy Christian Fleming (Roanoke), Patrick Henry (Martinsville), Peaks of Otter (Bedford), Virginia’s Old Carolina Road (Rocky Mount), the George Pearis Chapter (Giles), and the Roanoke Valley Chapter, which meets in Vinton.
Despite the pandemic, about 100 members from District VII chapters were in attendance, including seven members of the Roanoke Valley Chapter: Regent Cindy Higgins, Janice Taylor, Shannon Campbell, Diane Goode, Linda Upchurch, Sharon Menzies, and Heather Menzies.
District VII Director Patricia Honts presided over the session. Other officers assisting included Vice Director Jeanne Dooley, Secretary Neoma Hall, Chaplain Diane Givens, Treasurer Linda Haney, and Parliamentarian Jaqueline Frith. These officers have served since 2019.
Martin Leamy presented the program on the non-profit Central and Southwest Virginia Honor Flight, which was created to honor the area’s American veterans.
The mission of Honor Flight is to transport veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials and monuments dedicated to honoring those who have served and sacrificed for this country—“one more tour with honor.” Monuments and memorials include the Air Force Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, the Korean War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Marine Corps Memorial, the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, the World War II Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial.
All honored veterans travel at no cost. The Honor Flight Network is currently serving veterans from the WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War eras and terminally ill veterans serving during any era.
The Honor Flight Network began in 2005 to take World War II veterans to the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Since its formation, Honor Flight has taken more than 240,000 veterans to see the memorials built in their honor.
Today, the Honor Flight Network is currently comprised of over 125 hubs throughout the country dedicated to carrying out the Honor Flight mission. The Network, as a whole, serves over 22,000 veterans each year. The Central and Southwest Virginia Honor Flight is one of the newest hubs and began making trips in 2018.
Each veteran is accompanied by a trained volunteer whose mission is to assist the veteran in any way they can—by pushing wheelchairs, carrying belongings, or simply joining in a day full of celebration and reflection.
A business meeting followed the Honor Flight presentation and then a luncheon catered by Lib and Amy’s.
State Regent LeAnn Fetherolf Turbyfill spoke to members about the “silver lining” in the pandemic. Virginia DAR members still were able to impact their communities and the DAR letters may now stand for “Daughters Are Resilient.” Projects such as the $14 million renovation of Constitution Hall in Washington, D. C. have continued.
A Virginia state project supports the development of a chandlery (candle making) program on the site of Historic Smithfield which will serve as an educational opportunity for visitors to the Colonial site. In time, this program will provide a source of income for the property.
Members present elected new officers to serve District VII from 2022-2025. They include Director Jeanne Dooley, Vice Director Marcia Bauserman, Secretary Joann Sutphin, Treasurer Judy Thierry, and Chaplain Cynthia McKinney.
Special projects for the Virginia DAR this year include increasing membership statewide to 10,000—with only 104 new members needed to meet that goal.
A local project in the works is collecting donations to replace items lost when a water pipe burst in a storage room at the Salem VA.
Each chapter in District VII was recognized for awards earned in the past year. The Roanoke Valley Chapter received the Chapter Achievement Level 1 Award, third place in the Eastern Division for Distribution of U.S. Flags, the Luminary Challenge Shimmer, an award for the purchase of “School of Sunfish pins” to support DAR schools, and recognition for participation in the Trek Recycling Project and the chapter program on the DAR Library.
The Roanoke Valley Chapter of the NSDAR was founded in Vinton in 1961 and will celebrate their 60th anniversary in November. The chapter traditionally meets at St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church in Vinton on the second Saturday of each month September through May, although members have met online via Zoom during the pandemic.
They are well-known for involvement in many community-service projects in Vinton and throughout the valley each year. They plant flags at the Municipal Building for patriotic holidays. The chapter supports veterans and active military personnel by making lap blankets for veterans each fall. They sponsor the William Byrd High School DAR Good Citizenship Award and scholarship, awarded each spring. During the pandemic, members made and distributed over 2000 face masks.
This year the local chapter has taken on a community service project, partnering with the Town of Vinton to collect and recycle household plastic bags and films which will allow them to receive a park bench from the Trex Corporation for the Glade Creek Greenway Phase II Trail in Vinton.
Accepted plastics include store bags, produce bags, ice bags, Ziplocs and other reclosable bags, cereal box liners, case overwrap, bread bags, newspaper sleeves, dry cleaning bags, bubble wrap, and plastic e-commerce mailers.
Groups who collect more than 500 pounds of plastic refuse in a six-month span (that’s about 40,500 plastic bags) receive the donation of a high-performance composite Trex bench for the community. The project can be ongoing with the community receiving more than one bench.
The Roanoke Valley DAR/Town of Vinton goal was to collect 500 pounds by April 2022.
Thanks to great community corporate partner, the PFG corporation in Vinton, the goal for the first bench has already been met. PFG donated 367.7 pounds of plastics in the first three months the project was underway, and then added another 80 pounds to that.
The community has contributed the rest in recycling bins (large white boxes) placed at the Charles R. Hill Community Center (at the Vinton War Memorial) and the Vinton Municipal Building.
The Roanoke Valley Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), like all DAR chapters, is made up of women who can prove a direct lineage to someone who fought or provided service during the American Revolution. The chapter makes every effort to work with prospective members on completing the paperwork necessary to identify their Patriot and become a member.
Planned programs for 2021-2022 include a commemoration of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and installation of new members at their September meeting along with observance of Constitution Week September 17-23, a blanket tying session at the October meeting, participation in the National Day of Service on October 1, their 60th birthday party on November 6, a celebration of Veterans Day at W.E. Cundiff Elementary on November 1, a mini-field trip to the Vinton History Museum, and participation in the Vinton Dogwood Festival.
The NSDAR was founded in 1890 to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism. Its members are descended from the patriots who won American independence during the Revolutionary War. With more than 185,000 members in approximately 3,000 chapters worldwide, the DAR is one of the world’s largest and most active service organizations.