Learning More About Units Overseas

Written by: Virginia Lingelbach, National Chair, Units Overseas Committee
January 6, 2015

We all enjoyed reading the President General’s blogs covering her recent visits to the six chapters in Europe. As Chair, Units Overseas Committee, it was a privilege to accompany the President General and to participate in the chapter sponsored activities.  Many thanks to Mindy Kammeyer, Reporter General, and Liaison to this Committee for accompanying us on most of the chapter visits. The agenda was packed full of official obligations, meetings with Embassy officials, wreath layings, visits with foreign government representatives, military officials and dignitaries.   Her blog posts served to pique the interest of so many Daughters who have expressed interest in knowing more about the vital role our chapters around the world play in supporting the NSDAR objectives.

There have been DAR members living outside of the United States almost from the time the National Society was formed in 1890 and you will probably be surprised to know that the very first of these chapters was the Aloha Chapter in Honolulu, Hawaii which was formed in 1897, and became a state society when President Eisenhower proclaimed Hawaii as our fiftieth state in 1959. We now have 25 chapters in 13 countries and one U.S. Territory.  Chapters are located in Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, France, Germany, Guam, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Membership is approaching 1,000 with over 3,000 associate members.

In addition to supporting the objectives of NSDAR, our UO chapters donate countless hours to projects indigenous to their country of residence.  For example, we learned during our recent visit that in France, the Rochambeau Chapter sponsored a history contest targeting French high school students in the Paris region to produce a video on “Today’s Memory in France of the American War for Independence.”  In London, both the William Hines Page and St. James Chapters support the Benjamin Franklin House, the only remaining house in the world where Benjamin Franklin lived.  Sulgrave Manor, George Washington’s ancestral home, also receives support from both chapters and both historic properties have been awarded an NSDAR Special Project Grant.  The España Chapter members are working on a project to research, document and publish a book on the role of the Spanish Crown in the American Revolution.  This chapter has also adopted the Spanish I and II classes at Kate Duncan Smith DAR School in Grant, Alabama. In Rome, the Pax Romana chapter is working to place a historical marker at the residence of Sarah Parker Remond, a mid-19th century African-American abolitionist, suffragette and medical doctor who resided in Italy.  The Blue Danube Chapter in Austria is focusing on education and increasing membership. The Palatinate Chapter in Germany supports two Fisher Houses, the USO Wounded Warrior Center and Chaplain’s Closet at Landstuhl Regional Medical Facility.  All chapters are involved in Celebrate America! and are finding ways to support the President General’s initiative through volunteerism.

Because fund raising is strictly limited or prohibited in most overseas countries, these chapters rely heavily on donations and dues from their associate members in order to carry out their projects.  Remember, you may be an associate member of more than one overseas chapter, and will be entitled to purchase the Units Overseas pin and add a bar for each country of associate membership.  Please visit the Members Only Web Site, at http://members.dar.org, go to National Committees and click on Units Overseas Committee (under Administrative Committees), click on Associate Member Forms and select the chapter or chapters with which you wish to affiliate.  Annual dues range from $10.00 to $30.00.

Please visit the Units Overseas Table on Celebrate America! Night, Friday, June 26, 2015, during Continental Congress, and greet members from the chapters abroad and learn more about how these Daughters are advancing DAR work in their countries.  The Units Overseas Luncheon and International Bazaar will be held on Thursday, June 25, 2015.  Information relative to ticket sales will be listed in the March/April Issue of the Daughters newsletter.  Space is limited to 600 and the luncheon sold out prior to the deadline last year so please purchase your tickets early.

This Committee thanks you for your past support and generosity and encourages each of you to continue your assistance through your contributions  and commitment to the promotion of DAR around the world.

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