The California State Conference

Written by: Beverly Moncrieff, California State Regent
April 10, 2017

Arriving in California in March, I was reminded how beautiful the state can be.  Because of recent rains the hills were green, the sky was blue and temperatures were moderate.  It was easy to understand why so many of our ancestors crossed the plains and mountains to reach the Pacific.  I was only able to stay a short time, but my visit was filled with warm welcomes from wonderful Daughters.  Thank you, California for your friendship and support of the National Society.

- President General Ann Dillon

Butterflies soared in celebration as five hundred Daughters and guests participated in the California State Conference in San Ramon, California.  A trip to the Blackhawk Museum, with its Spirit of the Old West exhibit and the Auto Museum preceded the Opening Conference festivities. President General Ann Dillon arrived just in time for a welcome lunch followed by afternoon tea at the Cameo Club’s Boston Tea Party, where members “partied like it was 1773.” 

The Young American Fife and Drum Corps gave Opening Night an exciting start with a patriotic show. Keynote speaker, Claudia Stowers of the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, shared an energetic story of the museum, which opens to the public on April 19. Claudia was presented the California State Regent’s Award and an Honorarium for the museum.  We all welcomed Claudia as a proud new member of DAR.

In the spirit of DAR’s long tradition of welcoming immigrants and helping them become American citizens, we were proud to recognize two outstanding Californians. We presented the DAR Americanism Medal to Joel Peterson who is the critically acclaimed author of the award winning book, "Dreams of My Mothers,"  based on his experiences as an illegitimate, mixed-race child born in extreme poverty in South Korea to a Korean mother and American GI who abandons them. His novel highlights the challenges endured by mixed race immigrants who face cultural prejudices and language barriers.

We were also very pleased to recognize Dr. Eduardo Ochoa who will be presented the DAR Americanism Medal at the 126th Continental Congress in Washington, DC in June. Dr. Ochoa is currently President of California State University Monterey Bay.  In this and previous leadership positions, he has focused on programs to help low-income and first generation communities, which greatly benefit the foreign-born community.”

We celebrated Women’s History Month by saluting Colonel Nancy Sanders with DAR’s Medal of Honor. Retired after 31 years as commander of the 146th Medical Group, 146th Airlift, she turned to a life of advocacy for Veterans’ wellness and education. She is a woman who continually gives of herself to community, state, and country.

On Friday, Mrs. Dillon hosted the Heritage and Founders Breakfast where she answered many questions about opportunities to support national projects.  She then gave a stirring address at the initial business session, followed by California’s first ceremony for 23 graduates of the New Members Course.  After the National Defense Luncheon, Mrs. Dillon flew away to join Nevada Daughters for their Conference. We were sad to see her leave.

Juniors joined the DAR School Chair to host Friday night’s dinner, featuring Brent Hutchinson, Director of Hindman Settlement School in Kentucky.  

Butterflies abounded on Saturday morning at the Past and Present Regents Breakfast which celebrated the State Regents Conservation Project, Saving the Monarch Butterflies. Everyone had a great laugh as Madame Butterfly State Regent and her Board of Caterpillars danced into the room!

Saturday evening’s Celebration Dinner honored ten beautiful young debutantes presented to the State Regent and a record-breaking audience.  A heartwarming performance by the California Chorus, “Home of the Brave”, a patriotic walk through the Pacific Theater during World War II, closed the evening.  

Sunday morning’s traditional Memorial Service brought a fun-filled conference to a close. 

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