The Colorado State Conference

Written by: Elizabeth Townsend on behalf of Peggy Norton, Colorado State Regent
May 17, 2017

Departing Salt Lake City early Saturday morning, I anticipated seeing friends in Colorado for the official visit to my home state.  Friendship is certainly the reason most of us continue to be active and involved in the work of the DAR.  We need to continue to establish those connections with the newest members and nurture the existing relationships. I was overwhelmed by the celebration Colorado Daughters demonstrated, and appreciate the encouragement and support of those who know me best.

- President General Ann Dillon

Colorado Daughters had the honor and pleasure of welcoming their very own Ann Turner Dillon, President General, for the 114th State Conference.   It was a remarkable weekend of events for our Daughters and guests 443 (357 members and 443 total with guests!). Daughters and guests gathered, we were blessed with the opportunity to support our veterans, we conducted training workshops and business each day.   It was our privilege to host and get to know our distinguished guests, Alaska State Regent Judith Dean, Michigan State Regent Diane Schrift, Minnesota State Regent Rachel Sanisidro, New Mexico State Regent Genora Thornton Canon, Chemawa Indian School Superintendent Lora Braucher, and NSDAR Director of Development Sandra Polluck.  We were particularly pleased that Mother Nature provided us with a sunny weekend rather than a spring blizzard reminiscent of last year’s conference!

Sandy Pollack treated us to two workshops Friday morning:  “Putting the Fun Back Into Fundraising” and “Turning Conflicts into Opportunities for Success in our Chapters: Five Techniques for engaging Others in Resolving Conflict” not only provided Daughters with great new resources, they introduced two of our New Horizon’s course modules.   DAR School Luncheons are a unique opportunity to learn about the school’s history, mission and students.  This year was no exception as Chemawa’s Superintendent Lora Braucher was with us.  Mrs. Braucher has been known to say “When one of us succeeds, we all succeed.”  We are proud to foster that continued success with the donation from Mrs. Norton’s State Regent’s Project.   

Numerous clubs meet during our State Conference including State Junior Club, State Page Club, State Officer’s Club, State Chairman’s Club, and a very dedicated group we call the 50-Year-Club.  With 63 current members with a combined total of 3,590 years of service in the 50-Year-Club, these women are one of our greatest treasures. 

With a smoothly run business session complete, Friday’s Get Acquainted Event and Dinner and State Officers’ Club Meeting & Dinner had a very special conclusion. State Regent, Peggy Norton, presented a check to representatives from Rocky Mountain Honor Flight non-profit organization (RMHF).  RMHF is a member of the national Honor Flight Network whose mission is to give veterans in the Rocky Mountain Region the opportunity to visit and reflect on the national memorials, located in Washington DC. Currently, priority is given to WWII veterans.  The sweet sounds of our special musical guest, The Colorado Children’s Chorale closed our evening.

Opening the second day of our conference, Colorado Daughters and C.A.R. Patriots and Pages were in wholehearted agreement with Mrs. Dillon’s first words, “There’s No Place Like Home,” were met with thunderous applause and a standing ovation.   Mrs. Dillon’s philosophy that leadership is not about one person doing all the work, but about building a group that can work together, is exemplified by the support Daughters provide throughout the state. 

With a cumulative total of 59,834 recorded volunteer hours in 2016, Colorado Daughters are active in their communities supporting veterans, education and hands-on programs virtually every day of the week.  Education is a passion for many of our Daughters and it is a distinction to award our American History Essay Contest and Christopher Columbus Essay Winners each year.

As the 38th State of the union, it is only fitting that we have 38 graduates in the Inaugural New Members / New Horizons Training Charter Graduating Class.  As our fearless leader put it so well, we accepted “the challenge and blazed the trail to cross through the burled arch and claim their Red Lantern, stylus flashlight and pewter team dog pin, which we can proudly wear on their right shoulder as recognition and a reward for a challenge accepted, a goal attained and project completed.”  We are educated, we are empowered to share all that we have learned, we are “Team 38”.

Our Regent’s Banquet flags were posted by the Colorado Honor Guard Association Color Guard.  The American Flag bearer you see, Jana Cates, is a familiar face to Colorado Daughters.  Jana is our State Chairman for the Flag of the USA and as well as a Deputy County Sheriff.   

Saturday State Regent’s Reception and Patriotic Banquet honoring Chapter Regents is always a memorable evening.  The second time was the charm for our DAR Distinguished Citizen Medal recipient, Lt. Gen. Susan J. Helms, USAF (Ret).  Scheduled for our 2016 conference, an impromptu blizzard closing down much of the state brought Gen. Helms to us this year.  A 1980 graduate of the United Sates Air Force Academy, Gen. Helms was a member of the first coeducational graduating class – it would seem trailblazing is in her DNA!  She is a pilot of more than 30 aircraft, a test pilot, a NASA astronaut, and was the first US military woman in space.  Four space shuttle missions, a world record spacewalk, and several months aboard the International Space Station show her focus and dedication to our nation.  Gen. Helms was awarded the DAR Medal of Honor at the 2008 Continental Congress; we are grateful for her service and her friendship!

A gracious host to our Sunday morning’s Heritage Club and Founders Club Breakfast, Mrs. Dillon shared progress updates to a number of projects underway including the work on the Museum Gallery and the refurbishment of the Memorial Garden.  One upcoming project, the restoration of the flags in the dome of the stage is particularly interesting.  It was once thought that any attempt to restore the flags would destroy them.  The flags are comprised of painted on strips of canvas which are delaminating and have had numerous attempts to fix them which have proven to be detrimental.  Changes in technology now show that they can be restored leaving them in place.  Interestingly the flags represented are battle flags of the American Revolution.  We look forward to seeing them in all their glory when the restoration is complete! 

Each year we remember our fellow Daughters who have left us in the last year with a memorial service.  We also celebrate our Daughters and their accomplishments. Elizabeth Grace DeGuire Mance of the Mount Rendezvous Chapter was honored as the 2017 Colorado State Outstanding Junior Member at the Education Awards Luncheon held Saturday April 22, 2017.   In addition to numerous committee awards, we were truly blessed to award several scholarships for the coming year.  Perhaps our most treasured award of all was the additional donation from a February Tea attended by Daughters state-wide. Our total contribution to the Rocky Mountain Honor Flight ensures 13 WWII veterans will make the journey from Denver to Washington, DC, on 11 May 2017.

Mrs. Dillon described us as “Women who get things done” and we could not agree more.  Here’s to a successful 2017, we’ll see you at Continental Congress!

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