The West Virginia State Conference

Written by: Mindy Davis, West Virginia State Regent
April 25, 2019

Following a week of work at the office I programmed Martinsburg, West Virginia into Google Maps and left the city in plenty of time for a relaxing drive through the historic countryside. I appreciated John Denver’s “Country Roads Take me Home” as I navigated the freeways through the mountains. While not the rugged peaks of Colorado, it was still nice to see vistas of scenery reminding me of home. The West Virginia Daughters and State Regent Malinda Davis made me feel right at home and I appreciated their hospitality and relaxed friendliness.

- President General Ann Dillon

The 114th West Virginia State Conference was held April 5-7, 2019, in historical Martinsburg, West Virginia with this year’s theme being Patriotism Shines in West Virginia.  The West Virginia Daughters were honored to have Ann Turner Dillon, President General as our special guest. We were also honored to have with us the State Regent of Ohio, Nancy Schirm Wright and the State Regent of Pennsylvania, Cynthia B. Sweeney. We unofficially kicked the conference off on April 4, with those who arrived early having dinner at The Barn on Mahogany Hill. The Barn, owned by Jerry and Susanne Horner was built in 1792 (Stone Bank Barn) by Jerry’s family.

Friday morning had the descendants of Colonel Morgan Morgan (1688-1766) gathering at his cabin in Bunker Hill (Berkeley County), West Virginia.  A memorial service was conducted at the cabin he built nearly 300 years ago.  Colonel Morgan was one of the first European settlers in the local area. 

Members then attended the “Preserving Our Patriotic Heritage” Cameo Luncheon held at the Purple Iris Restaurant. The restaurant is located in the Hartwood Mansion and was commissioned by George W.F.Mullis, an industrialist, who came to Martinsburg in 1895. The mansion was designed by architect Alexander Merchant and built in 1929. Hartwood is an example of Neo-Georgian Revival architecture. The design and craftsmanship have been artistically and gracefully blended to provide ambiance of elegance and warmth.  We were pleased to present to Cynthia Sweeney, State Regent of Pennsylvania with the “Distinguished Mountaineer” Award.

Friday evening the Uncle Sam Wants YOU! Dinner honored those who had proudly sponsored the State Regent’s Projects.  Members and Chapters were recognized for donations made to the project and for work done on compiling the “Book of Remembrance,” honoring the Gold Star Mothers from the American Revolution until today.  The book will be placed in the State Archives in Charleston, WV.

The Opening Night Session began with Mrs. Dillon presenting her “A Look at the National Society” message. Her words were inspirational and welcomed by the daughters. Mrs. Dillon was presented with a donation to the President General’s Project and a West Virginia charm. We were pleased to recognize the 16 young ladies serving as this year’s conference pages.  A reception was held to honor the members of the William Henshaw Chapter, who were celebrating 120 years of service to the National Society.

Saturday began bright and early with the Chapter Regents Club breakfast and our opening business session. Reports were received from the state officers, state chairmen, district directors and chapter regents. Members were updated on the State Regent’s Project for the placement of the Gold Star Mother’s Plaques in Point Pleasant and Fairmont, WV. Our “One Small Step – Honoring Today’s Youth” Luncheon recognized the Outstanding History Teacher, Steven Blinco, the state’s DAR Good Citizen Winner, Caleb Seckman, Christopher Columbus Essay Winner , Jaclyn Smith, the  American History Essay Winners, Women in History Winners and the graduates of the New Members/New Horizon Courses.

The day concluded with “Salute to Our Shining Stars” Banquet.  Special Presentations were made to President General, Ann Dillon and State Regent of Ohio, Nancy Wright. Both ladies received a proclamation from the governor making them “Distinguished Mountaineers.” Our guest speaker for the evening was Shirley White, President of the West Virginia Gold Star Mothers’ Organization. Shirley spoke of the work that the state organization is doing to honor those men and women who have given all in the service to our country. The West Virginia State Society was pleased to present Mrs. White with a gift for the “Living Memorial” Tree Project from the State Regent’s Project. Mrs. Dillon presented certificates to those chapters who 100% participation in the President General’s Project. Special presentations were made to the Avis C. Marcum Award recipient (Emily Cooper), those members with 50+ years of service, for Service to America, and to the current or retired military personnel in attendance. All in attendance were entertained by our very own WVDAR Chorus. A special appearance was made by Elvis Presley to conclude the evening.

Sunday morning had members of the Heritage and Founders Club enjoying breakfast hosted by the President General and the NSDAR Development Office. A beautiful Memorial Service led by State Chaplain, Linda Hendrickson was held in remembrance of the 38 daughters lost this past year. The conference concluded with the installation of our newly elected State Officers and many thanks from this State Regent for all of the work done by the state society and the members.  West Virginia Daughters truly are “Shining Stars of Service” as we are “Moving Forward in Service to America.”

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