Visiting the Mountain State

May 6, 2014

I departed the Connecticut State Conference very early on Saturday, April 5th to return to the DC area where I was met at the airport by Joe Khare, Secretary-Treasurer of the West Virginia SAR, and Page Johnna Nicewarner.  Joe drove us to Martinsburg, West Virginia, a lovely community.  Joe was a fighter pilot in Vietnam and let me say, not only did the time fly, so did Joe!  We arrived in time for the morning processional and were greeted by Barby Frankenberry, State Regent, and conference guests, Sue Simpson, State Regent of Louisiana, Sandy McCann, State Regent of Ohio and Liz Bicknell, State Regent of Vermont.

With a theme of “Celebrating West Virginia to the Core” apples abounded in decorations and table favors as this part of the state has many apple orchards.  On the day prior to my arrival, the conference attendees visited Bunker Hill, WV and the site of the cabin built in 1731 by Col. Morgan Morgan, a Revolutionary War veteran, who established the first permanent settlement on Mill Creek in present-day Berkeley County.

The conference opened Friday evening with a banquet theme of “West Virginia – Giving Service to the Corps”.  Barby’s State Regent’s Project is to earn funds to donate an Action Trackchair to a wounded warrior.  While similar to a wheelchair, trackchairs have treads like a tank rather than wheels and can be used in all terrains. With this chair, a veteran could navigate mountain roads, campgrounds, woods, beaches, hiking trails, frozen lakes, shallow streams, muddy and snowy terrain and more.  The inventor, Tim Swenson, told the conference at dinner Friday evening that two models are available – one for sitting which costs around $10,000 and one for standing which costs $18,000.   The audience was very moved by his presentation and thrilled to hear the West Virginia Daughters had been generous enough to raise almost $30,000 - enough for three chairs!

Rather than an oral report, Barby presented her State Regent’s report as a PowerPoint presentation of her chapter visits and activities.  She is also encouraging every member to learn the American’s Creed and will award a certificate to all who can recite it. Because fewer oral reports were given, more time was available for productive workshops in the afternoon.

One of the delightful features at the conference were Apple Grams, on which we could write small notes of encouragement or compliments for delivery to a member at the conference.

Highlights on Saturday include the “Planting Seeds of Learning Luncheon” featured the 2014 West Virginia Teacher of the Year, Erin Sponaugle.  Erin has taught fifth grade for ten years and believes that every child deserves an exceptional teacher.  Barby participated in the luncheon entertainment, a hand bell choir from her church.  Also honored were the students who won the essay contests as well as the Outstanding Teacher of American History.

It was an honor to welcome members of the Heritage and Founders Clubs to a tea late that afternoon and to answer questions. I was delighted to present certificates to the chapters reaching 100% of the President General’s Project contributions.  Golden Apple certificates were presented to each chapter reporting community service hours on the Celebrate America Tally.  I was astounded to learn that West Virginia Daughters recorded an amazing 75,000 hours, which is roughly 42 hours for each of their 1772 members!

Following my presentation on the goals and projects of the Young Administration, Barby presented me with a certificate as an Honorary Mountaineer.  Each of the guests received a basket of delicious West Virginia goodies.

Sunday morning began with a lovely Memorial Service in which chapter representatives were invited to place flowers in memory of their departed members followed by the Friendship breakfast in which I said farewell to the West Virginia Daughters.

Barby is well known at Headquarters for her delicious Frankenbrittle and is kind enough to share her recipe with us:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Break apart graham crackers and place (as close as possible-touching is better) on a pan (not greased) with sides-jellyroll—12” X 16”
Chop pecans—at least 1/2 cup—more is better
1 stick of butter
1 stick of margarine
1/2 cup white granulated sugar

Put butter, margarine and sugar in a saucepan & bring slowly to a rolling boil using a medium heat-stirring continually.  When it is a yellow frothy boil-stop stirring, continue to boil for 2 minutes on medium heat. Pour on and spread evenly over the graham crackers. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Bake in the 350 degree oven for 10-11 minutes or more depending on the oven. Remove and put on aluminum foil to cool.  Store them in an air tight container and enjoy!

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