Reflections From the Corresponding Secretary General

Written by: Virginia Lingelbach, Corresponding Secretary General
April 29, 2019

Looking ahead to the last Continental Congress of the Dillon Administration, my heart is full of pride and emotion as I pause to reflect on the activities and accomplishments of the last three years.    With the help and support of Daughters in chapters across this nation and around the world, we continued to Move Forward in Service to America and not only achieved our Administration goals but succeeded in completing large projects that we never dreamed possible.    

As Corresponding Secretary General, it was my great privilege to work with the staff in the DAR Store and Mail Room, Manager Carolie Walker, Order Processing Assistant Bernard Nuby, and Mail Room Clerk Kevin Franklin, in serving our Membership.  Meeting and assisting Daughters worldwide with chapter supplies, gifts, and President General’s project items was both a privilege and a pleasure.  Collectively, we worked to design creative and relevant items with a modest profit margin to benefit the General Fund … a challenging and rewarding task!

Our amazing service projects were both memorable and rewarding.  Immediately after installation the Office of the Corresponding Secretary General had the awesome responsibility of mailing the 100,904 letters to service personnel collected by members in order to break the GUINESS WORLD RECORD in patriotism for most letters to military personnel collected in one month. Each letter had to be inspected for original signature, correct postage and sealed. Daughters from surrounding Chapters, the NSDAR staff and all Executive Officers pitched in to complete this task which was a labor of love. Another project close to my heart was assisting the U.S. National Park Service in cleaning the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, a job which had to be performed at 6 a.m. before opening to the public.  The NSDAR Day of Service fell during the France trip which gave us the opportunity to partner with the Rochambeau Chapter promoting literacy and purchasing books for French school children, giving credence to the motto Moving Forward in Service to America and the World.

It is almost impossible to select a few special memories to document, but the trip to France certainly stands out as one of the most memorable.  I was honored to give the dedication prayer at the tomb of the Marquis de Lafayette during the wreath laying ceremony conducted by the President General.

It was also a privilege to locate the grave of Vice President General Billie Breedlove’s uncle who is buried at the World War I Somme American Cemetery in Bony, France, and join with the First Vice President General in placing an American flag on his grave.

As Executive Liaison to the Units Overseas Committee, it was my privilege to work with the Chair and the President General in organizing and executing the first ever Units Overseas Conference held abroad.  Members of chapters throughout Europe and as far away as Australia traveled to Paris for this one-day conference and banquet. I was honored to share in the success of this event.

How many people can say they slept where George Washington slept?  The Dillon Executives were invited to spend the night on the grounds of Mount Vernon as the guest of Jo Carol Porter of The Life Guard Society of Mount Vernon. This has to fall in the category of the biggest “Gee-Whiz” moment I have ever experienced.

There have been so many amazing memories, but as the saying goes, the best is yet to come.  Each year of her Administration the President General has invited Executive Officers to participate in the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.  This June I will have that honor.  As the widow of an Air Force Officer, the daughter of a Marine and the granddaughter of a World War I Veteran, this distinction may be the most poignant of all of the amazing memories I have of the past three years. 

My sincere thanks to the Georgia Daughters, the other eleven Executive Officers with whom I have shared this special sisterhood and to the hardest working group of professionals I have ever had the pleasure to work with, the NSDAR Staff.  My love and heartfelt thanks to our President General, Ann Turner Dillon for her leadership and dedication and for inviting me to share this amazing journey.

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