Celebrating at Celebrate America Night

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
June 26, 2015

Last evening’s Educational Awards Night was so interesting. Geoff Ward and Andrew O’Shaughnessy are both such amazing historians and it fantastic to honor them and hear their remarks. It is so wonderful to recognize students and educators who are so passionate about history. I am always so in awe of these young people and their amazing essays.

Congratulations to the 2015 Outstanding Junior, Holly Lynne McKinley Schmidt! The Outstanding Junior Contest exists to recognize members who are 35 years old or younger who devote themselves to DAR with service that is above and beyond, while also balancing the demands of families, homes, careers and other civic and religious service. Holly Lynne is a member of the Thomas Nelson Chapter in Virginia. A 15 year member of DAR, she has served at the chapter, state, and national levels. She currently serves as her chapter’s regent and has also held other chapter officer positions and numerous chapter chairmanships. Holly Lynne has also served Virginia as a state chair, state vice chair, Juniors Club President, Page Club President, page, and delegate. At the national level, Holly Lynne has paged at Continental Congress for 13 years. She has served as a National Vice Chair and National Co-Chair of Pages. Holly Lynne is an active Senior Leader for C.A.R. having served as a Senior National Officer, Senior State Chairman, and is currently serving as Senior State President of Virginia. Holly Lyne and her husband Darrin make their home Herndon, Virginia where she is a Lead Technologist at Booz Allen Hamilton, a management and technology consulting firm. Her extensive community service includes membership and leadership in Pi Sigma Epsilon, Alpha Phi Omega, Girl Scouts, Virginia Congressional Award Alumni Association, and Andrew Chapel United Methodist Church. We are so happy to honor her. Congratulations to all winners at the chapter, state and national levels.

This morning we took an all member photo in honor of our 125th anniversary, in President’s Park just across from DAR Headquarters. Everyone looked so patriotic in their red, white and blue attire.

I continue to be heartened by the response of so many to the Guardian Trust Campaign.  As I have been able to speak with you personally over the last few days, many of you have expressed your support of the creation of this endowment-ensuring our success for future generations just as our founders did 125 years ago! Donors are entitled to purchase the Guardian Trust Campaign pins based on their contributions to the campaign.  Donors will be eligible to purchase their pin when their contribution of $5,000 or more is paid in full.

Today will resume daytime business sessions, where we will begin to hear the reports of the State Regents and a few select presentations from National Chairs. We will also hear the nominations of nine candidates for Vice President General. The business sessions of Congress are often a great place to gain new ideas for projects or initiatives from State Regents’ reports and  take back to your own state and chapters. I encourage you to attend and learn about the outstanding work that DAR is doing across the country.

Be sure to stop by the Congress Shops in the Texas Lone Star Lounge. Keep an eye out for the “What’s the Buzz” signs to find out how you can enter to win a gift card to one of the vendors in the Congress Shops.

The Patriotism and History Forums are this afternoon. Stop by these educational sessions to learn more about how you can become involved!

This afternoon I will be attending the DAR School Luncheon featuring students and faculty from the DAR schools. We will hear more about the important services our schools provide and get a glimpse into the programs they offer.

This evening’s Celebrate America Night is going to be a fun experience for Congress attendees. There will be opportunities to learn more about how you can become involved in the Celebrate America! volunteer initiative and you can participate in a service project with Blue Star Families. Don’t forget to bring a children’s book for the Books on Bases Book Drive! There is a Barnes and Noble located just a couple blocks from the Grand Hyatt at 12th and E Streets. Also keep an eye out for the Washington National’s “Racing Presidents” George Washington and Thomas Jefferson who will be around to greet members and take photos at the beginning of the event!

I am excited to hear our guest speaker, Josh Taylor, who is the co-host of PBS’ Genealogy Roadshow, President of the Federation of the Genealogical Societies (FGS) and a well-known genealogical author and researcher. Additionally there will be a special presentation about a new digitization project, in which members can become involved. And it will contribute toward your Celebrate America! hours. I am looking forward to seeing you all there!

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Education, Patriotism

Through restoring historic properties, funding scholarships and supporting our troops, DAR makes a difference in local communities.