The Minnesota State Conference

Written by: Faye Leach, Minnesota State Regent
June 11, 2018

Following a routine flight (my favorite) from Denver to Minneapolis, I was surprised to be met by a very organized state regent, Faye Leach, along with other Minnesota Daughters. We stopped for lunch before heading to the conference hotel and it was great to have the rare opportunity to actually spend a few uninterrupted hours just getting to know one another. The rededication ceremonies of several DAR historical markers, monuments and memorials were unique events and I was very impressed with the work done by the Minnesota Daughters. They are accomplishing a lot and it was good to be with these remarkable members.

- President General Ann Dillon

Spring arrived late in Minnesota but fragrant lilacs and other flowering trees were in full bloom for the 123rd State Conference hosted by the Harriet G. Walker Chapter.    More than 220 members registered for the conference, with 10% attending the state conference for the first time.

President General Ann Turner Dillon received a warm welcome and had an opportunity to get acquainted with the state executive committee, honorary state regents and conference chairs at an informal dinner soon after her arrival Thursday evening.

Friday’s activities began with a rededication ceremony of a recently restored memorial to the men and women of Saint Paul and Ramsey County who sacrificed their lives in World War I.  The memorial is a 39-foot tall granite shaft erected on the banks of the Mississippi River in Saint Paul by the disbanded Saint Paul Chapter.  The Nathan Hale Chapter adopted the memorial marker and in support of the current state regent’s project of restoring DAR’s historical markers, monuments and memorials in Minnesota, had the bronze removed and sent to the foundry for complete restoration and replacement.  Members of Cretin-Derham High School JROTC presented the colors and students from Falcon Ridge Middle School sang the national anthem.

From Saint Paul, members traveled to the Sibley Historic Site in Mendota where nine recently restored historical markers and memorials were rededicated. They included the Sibley House, home of Henry Hastings Sibley, who came to Minnesota as a fur trader, later became a general in the army and the first governor of Minnesota.  Minnesota Daughters saved the Sibley House from ruin in 1909, owned and operated the Sibley House and others on the property as museums and the Sibley Tea House until the mid-1990s, when it was gifted to the State of Minnesota.  Other rededications included a memorial to Pioneer Women.   Members of the Lake Minnetonka Chapter lead the effort in relocating and restoring this marker which is especially meaningful as many of the members have ancestors who were pioneers.  Their stories were collected and published in a book written by chapter members and released just in time for the rededication of the marker. The Fort Snelling Fife & Drum Corps entertained as tours of the historic homes were offered and guests enjoyed the beautiful grounds of the historic site. Another marker unveiled by President General Ann Dillon and I, honors state regents, past, present and future.

Friday evening’s banquet, hosted by the State Officers Club, was enjoyed by the largest number of members of any event of the weekend.  Mrs. Dillion was warmly welcomed. She motivated and inspired all members present with her sincerity when speaking of our work and responsibility.  Her vivid description of DAR’s restoration of the DAR Constitution Hall stage generated much interest.  She presented certificates to chapter regents for participation in the President General’s Project.  Enjoyable entertainment was provided by a string quartet from Roseville High School.

Saturday’s activities included reports of chapter regents and committee chairs as well as a business session. The Awards Luncheon honored essay contest winners and Good Citizen Grant Schlichting, who was especially congratulated on his appointment to the United Stated Air Force Academy.

Saturday’s banquet theme was “A Patriotic Evening.”  Attendees welcomed and enjoyed hearing our guest speaker, Major General James E. Livingston, (ret USMC) Medal of Honor recipient, related stories of the heroic acts of the Minnesotans who had received the Medal of Honor. Minnesota Daughters were especially interested in the stories as a number of the members, under the guidance of Honorary State Regent Bonnie Kottschade, had recently researched genealogy of some of these men and published the results in a book, a copy of which was presented to General Livingston.  He was also presented with a signed, numbered and framed print of the new memorial to Minnesota Medal of Honor recipients being constructed on the grounds of our state capitol in Saint Paul. All veterans present were recognized and thanked.  Awards were presented to two graduates of the New Members/New Horizons Courses and to Outstanding Junior Ruth Schreiber. Our traveling diamond pin was presented to the chapter that had admitted the largest number of new members by application in the past year.  The pin will be worn for the next year by Tricia Pepin, Chapter Regent of the Harriet G. Walker Chapter.

After the Sunday memorial service honoring the memory of 16 departed Daughters from 10 chapters, roundtable discussions were facilitated by the state vice regent, treasurer and registrar.  The final event of the conference was a “Lunch and Learn” session.  Members enjoyed presentations by the state Volunteer Information Specialist (VIS) Chair, Parliamentarian, Digitization Chair and Public Relations and Media Chair.

Among smiles, new and renewed friendships, the 123rd State Conference of the Minnesota State Society Daughters of the American Revolution embodied the tenets of DAR and what members hold dear, Historic Preservation, Education and Patriotism! DAR is in full bloom in Minnesota.

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