Texas DAR Fall Forum

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
September 18, 2014

Last week I drove to Austin for the Texas DAR Fall Forum.  On Friday afternoon over 300 members and descendants of patriots traveled to the historic Texas State cemetery to rededicate the Patriot Monument to the soldiers of the American Revolution buried in Texas.  The generous Texas Daughters erected this monument near the end of my term as State Regent and listed 32 names of patriots whose service and burial in Texas could be documented.  After five years of research, eight more names were added, including the first female. Several of the newest patriots include those who assisted in the cattle drives to feed Galvez’s army and dozens of their descendants were thrilled to have their ancestor’s service recognized. 

Workshops were offered Friday afternoon and the dinner recognized the members who had received first place awards at Congress as well as Zia Lowe, the Outstanding Junior Contest runner-up.  Those of you who know our dynamic State Regent, Pamela Wright, are aware that she makes everything fun with a great deal of flair.  Three of her personal Pages have babies and she presented each of them.  Our Campbell waved and smiled for the crowd.  Did I hear someone mention an apple and a tree?

Highlights of the event, with 650 attendees, included donations of gently used formals and accessories for Cinderella’s Closet, a non-profit operated by the USO in South Texas, which makes the dreams of military spouses to attend military balls come true.  Almost 700 formals were donated, along with dozens of evening bags, shoes and accessories.    Pamela noted that since neither of us had emptied our closets yet, we could surely achieve a goal of 1,000 gowns for State Conference.

Over 3,000 Christmas cards were signed for the troops and the Junior Shoppe was packed with treasures.  We were encouraged to pose for selfies in front of the Flags in commemoration of the anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner and to post the photos on the TXDAR Facebook page.

At the luncheon on Saturday, member Karmann Goff was brought to tears when one of her two sons serving overseas surprised her with a video call from Afghanistan.  In fact, we all had tears in our eyes as she saw him for the first time since his deployment.  We enthusiastically offered a rousing cheer in appreciation of his service.

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson introduced another American hero, Ken Towery, who was captured on Corregidor during World War II and held as a POW for 4 years.  He was so well respected by his fellow prisoners that he was named “Chow Dipper” and given the honor of measuring the meager servings of food given to each of the starving men.  He has a fascinating story as he became a reporter and broke the story of a major land scandal, earning a Pulitzer Prize.

Voices were sold for the Helen Pouch Memorial Fund benefitting the DAR Schools on three fabulous fur coats.  Three VERY excited young women were the lucky winners of the coats and the children at our schools will be the beneficiaries.

We learned, we laughed, and we cried.  But what made the weekend so memorable was the camaraderie of old friends and the joy of finding new ones.  Last year I inquired of a lady in the elevator where she as from and before we arrived on the first floor, we discovered that not only were our mothers from the same small town, but they had been best friends growing up.  My siblings and I had always heard about Theda Darby and my new friend, Pamela Darby Hill, had always heard of Patricia O’Tyson.  We kept in touch during the year and looked forward to meeting this fall and sharing photos of our mothers. All I have of Mom’s teen years are a few tiny faded snapshots.  Pamela produced the high school yearbook which I’d never seen and it was a thrill to turn the pages and see the others I’d heard her talk about.  When Pamela GAVE me the yearbook, I truly was touched.  Can you imagine our surprise as we began sharing our snapshots to discover we had two identical ones?  It is comforting to know that although our Mothers are no longer on this earth, Pamela and I will continue their friendship.

I do hope you have the joy of sharing DAR with a dear friend.  If so, would you share your story with me?

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