The February Leadership Meeting in Louisville, KY is always a meteorological treat and this year was no exception. My wife, Julie, and I travelled early and ran through a major storm running up the east coast. We drove through some heavy squalls in Raleigh and Winston-Salem en route to Beckley, WV. We arrived in Beckley with very pleasant 60⁰ weather. When we awoke we had an inch of snow covering the area with blowing snow as we descended into Charleston, WV. Our final leg into Louisville was good weather and the return trip home was sunny with no complications.
Upon arrival, I stowed our luggage and proceeded to a called Trustee meeting to observe. This was the first time the meeting started on Thursday afternoon. Later that evening, approximately 140 compatriots were loaded on busses and carried to a river boat on the Ohio for a two-hour dinner cruise. The buffet dinner included having the compatriots sing several songs led by Compatriot Brockway, Hospitality Chair for the SAR.
The next day was a day of work as our North Carolina contingent attended or led several meetings. Compatriots Tim Berly, Jim Wood, Sam Powell, Steve Pittard, Kurt van Tassel, and John Thornhill attended/led the meetings.
I participated in the Patriot Biographies meeting in which we reviewed the goals for the National Society and discussed rewards for chapters achieving increments of 20% of their chapter membership. North Carolina is approaching the 60% participation level.
In the Americanism Committee, I learned that the Poster Contest was in full motion with the theme for North Carolina being Moore’s Creek. Next year, 2017, the theme will be a person as chosen by the state. The Brochure contest is also moving along and the permanent theme will be “The Foundation Documents of the United States”, i.e., The Articles of Confederation, Bill of Rights, Constitution, Declaration of Independence or the Federalists Papers.
In the Patriot Index/Revolutionary War Graves committee we learned that the chairman had resigned but that our project has 4100 biographies and 1231 photos added to the 112,754 patriots identified. The goal is to reach 5,000 biographies by this July.
During the Patriot Outreach committee we discussed preparing a separate certificate for participation in Wreaths Across America. At this time the only recognition is in the Partners in Patriotism certificate. We also discussed states which have been able to financially support a participant in the American Legion Boys State program.
David Hoover, the national Color Guard commander, led the election of the National Color Guardsman of the year. For 2016 the committee chose Compatriot Karl Jacobs of California. Participation in the Vigil at Mount Vernon was encouraged for the 17 Sep 16 event. Compatriots should arrive by 0800 to determine schedule of duty.
The Reenactor & Living History committee passed out a sample report that is to be submitted to Chairman Robert Cunningham any time we hold an event that includes reenactors.
The Operation Ancestor Search meeting was convened; however, the chair did not attend and there was no agenda.
On Saturday, I attended the Council of State Presidents committee meeting. Directors and Operators Insurance and Liability insurance for state societies and chapters was a major discussion item once again.
The evening festivities was a Caribbean Theme with the University of Louisville Steel Drum Band as the featured entertainment. Piña Coladas were the featured adult beverage for the evening and pink flamingos were the centerpieces at each table. The featured speaker was Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, Professor of History at the University of Virginia and the SAR’s selected visiting professor at King’s College in England who will conduct research on the personal papers of King George III.
The Saturday session started with the SAR One Thousand Club/George Washington Fellow breakfast. Financial contributors to various funds were recognized and thanked for their efforts.
The Executive Committee met prior to the reconvening of the Board of Trustees. At the Trustees meeting, a report from Mike Scroggins described the potential for digitizing 2,200,000 historical documents by commercial organizations versus in-house staff and volunteers. He advised that the final result of the inputs will be reported later. A report from Coleen Wilson concerning Outreach Education was presented showing the strides that have been made in the web site.
Compatriot Bill Stone described the decisions that had been made concerning the headquarters museum. He identified 250 of the 5,000 objects donated to the National SAR as “museum quality.” His presentation was followed by three other compatriots who had independently analyzed the impact of continuing the effort to build a museum in the National Headquarters of the SAR. A video presentation was shown by Solid Light which demonstrated the potential of building an experiential museum. There were numerous inputs from compatriots for and against continuing with the effort to build a museum using the guidance from Solid Light. After all were heard, a vote to continue the efforts after completing a $10,000,000 fund-raising campaign for the museum; the vote was 44 for the campaign and 29 against.
The Saturday Evening banquet was black tie. The evening’s entertainment was by Louisville’s music ambassadors, The Monarchs, a 1960s band which had multiple hit singles. Dancing to the oldies was the business of the evening. The SARpremes, the SAR singing group, joined The Monarchs on stage singing “Sweet Caroline”, “On the Boardwalk” and “My way.” At the end of the event, President General Tom Lawrence quipped, “This has been the most fun Leadership meeting I have ever attended in all my years in the SAR!”