Toni Bolling Lutter
For only the second time in the history of the Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) canceled Continental Congress, DAR’s annual convention in Washington, D.C. In 1945, during World War II, Congress was canceled because of war necessity. In fact, in this time of pandemic, DAR finds it must develop its approach to its three objectives: patriotism, education, and historic preservation.
Instead of attending naturalization ceremonies and awarding Medals of Honor to birthright citizens, Daughters see their current patriotic duty as living within the safety guidelines of national and state leaders. Many Daughters are essential workers, and many serve in the military. For those who must stay at home or in quarantine, sewing masks and personal protection equipment (PPE) has become a patriotic priority. At this writing, nearly 250,000 DAR masks and PPEs have been distributed to requesting institutions and frontline workers nationwide.
Gila Butte Chapter, which meets in Sun Lakes, saw many talented fabric artists turning their hands to making masks. Gila Butte’s Patty O’Neill, winner of 2020 national and state American Heritage awards for her Fiber Arts Quilt Top, provided masks locally.
Historic preservation also has become an in-home service, with thousands of Daughters working on home computers to identify, compile, and index unpublished records. Records such as primary unpublished sources are found in attics, old Bibles, local courthouses, local funeral homes, among the tombstones in a local cemetery, or housed in the basement of the local historical society. All are invaluable additions to DAR’s Library, which is a specialized collection of American genealogical and historical manuscripts and publications, as well as powerful public databases.
Support for education is ongoing. Despite missing out on the usual joyful public presentations, DAR national and state societies awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships. Gila Butte Chapter awarded two $1,000 scholarships to local graduating senior women.
During the National Day of Prayer on May 7, Gila Butte Chaplain Pattie Coleman invited members to join Daughters around the world in prayer during this pandemic.
Women over 18 who can prove direct bloodline descent from a patriot of the American Revolution are urged to call 706-255-4847 or go to the website gilabutte.arizonadar.org for membership information. Expert genealogical assistance is available.