Serving as your President General is a great honor. When I joined the SAR, I had no idea that someday I would be serving you in this position. Billie and I want to express our gratitude for your support over the years. My primary goal is to continue advancing the objectives of this organization. The 124th Congress is behind us, and it was great! The Congress Planning Committee and the South Carolina Society are to be commended for an outstanding 124th Congress.
We have virtually completed Phase II of our building program, but we still have a ways to go to realize our dream. Recent statistics indicate that more than 2 million people visit West Main Street in Louisville, Ky., annually, and we are confident that SAR will attract many of those visitors when our SAR Museum exhibits are ready for viewing. Sam Powell and Solid Light have created a campaign brochure to assist in raising the remaining funds needed for Phase III.
This year, we will begin the SAR Patriot Ancestors’ Biographies Committee, which will be chaired by Doug Collins of the Kentucky Society. This will be another tool in recruiting new members, and it comports with one of the objectives of our society—that is, to perpetuate the memory of our patriot ancestors. The plan is to solicit biographical articles from our membership relating to their Revolutionary War ancestors and post those on our SAR website. Our IT committee assured me that our website can handle this project. Now, the duty is yours to write the stories. This is your chance to tell the world about your SAR ancestor and preserve that ancestor’s memory. The site will be accessible to our members and visitors to peruse the biographies.
Another new project that will be helpful to each member is the archiving of notable speeches given by our compatriots. Often, when one is asked to speak, the first response is: “I don’t have time to research and write a speech,” or “I don’t have a speech on that subject.” Archiving speeches should encourage more members to be willing to give a presentation to one of our chapters, state societies, or more importantly, to an outside organization. Bill Stone of the Alabama Society, chairman of the Library and Archives Committee, and Rae Ann Sauer, assistant librarian and archivist, will handle this task. Another project is identifying SAR Medal of Honor recipients, which began when President General Stephen A. Leishman was Historian General. Will Schrader of the KYSSAR will chair the newly formed SAR Medal of Honor Recipients Task Force. The members of this task force are hard at work. We need to recognize those SAR members who have received the Medal of Honor and place a memorial with their names in our museum. For this to be a success, we need SAR members and other volunteers to assist in the search for Medal of Honor recipients among our membership. Remember, there is a medal for this volunteer service.
Education will always be one of our main objectives. We must continue to expand our educational outreach at the chapter, state and national levels. Colleen Wilson, our education director, has done a superb job, and we need to continue to grow in this area. We want to encourage each chapter and state to develop an outreach program whereby our members go into elementary, middle and high schools to promote the core principles of the founding of our country and the men and women who made it happen. You can be an important voice to preserve our patriotic history in our schools.
We will continue to explore strategies that will enhance membership retention and reinstatements, because this will translate into growth of our membership. If your chapter or state has found something that works well for you in this area, please share it with other chapters and states. We must have a culture of continuous improvement, where solutions are shared and successes celebrated together in keeping our members connected after joining the SAR. Recruit, Retain and Reinstate should always be our theme for membership. Under the leadership of Chuck Sweeney of the Florida Society, we will continue the work of the Veterans Recognition Committee, which is recognizing the military service of our members to our country. To date, we have recognized compatriots who served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. During my term as President General, we will recognize those who served in the Persian Gulf War. Plans are to begin a Veterans Recognition Committee Newsletter, issued at least three times annually, to keep our veterans and leadership informed of the various ongoing recognition programs.
Although these are my goals for the SAR for the coming year, the goals can only come about with your help. Thank you for all you are going to do this year for the SAR and may God bless the SAR and these United States of America.
Lindsey Cook Brock