2019 GWSAR Chapter Events
At the October Chapter meeting we heard from journalist and historian Marc Leepson as he spoke about his most popular book, Saving Monticello, which details this little-known but important tale of historic preservation.
Presentation of the SAR flag display commendation to Rotary President Sharon Meisel at the Oct 15 meeting of the Rotary Club of Alexandria at Belle Haven Country Club. The commendation was for the Rotary's Flags for Heroes program at which more than 200 flags were displayed to honor American service persons and veterans.
Several members of our Fire and Rescue System received public service awards from the George Washington Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). John Blair, a representative of SAR, was on hand to present the awards along with our Chief Officers.
Honoring and recognizing those men and women who have served our country and have paid the ultimate sacrifice is one of the core missions of the Sons of the American Revolution. The George Washington Chapter is in the distinctive position of hosting the annual NSSAR Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Leading the NSSAR Wreath Laying Ceremony this year was NSSAR President General John T. Manning and George Washington Chapter President Ernie Coggins. Attending Chapter members and their guests witnessed this unique and inspiring wreath laying ceremony performed by the U.S. 3rd Infantry, The Old Guard.
Semi-Annual Meeting began with the Board of Managers meeting on Friday afternoon. The General Membership meeting was held Saturday morning followed by an afternoon luncheon.
The Pentagon Chapter DAR sponsored a wreath laying and commemoration of 9.11 at the Pentagon. Several members of the GWC were present: Dave Thomas, Jay Henn, Tom Roth, and Bill Bland. Following the commemoration ceremonies, the members of the DAR, CAR, and SAR placed red carnations on the benches representing those who died at Pentagon on 9.11
On September 5, 2019 John Blair of the George Washington Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) presented the SAR Law Enforcement Commendation Medal to Master Police Officer (MPO) Michael Riccio of the Mount Vernon District. The citation noted that MPO Riccio has held many positions during his 24-year tenure with the Fairfax County Police Department. These have included Mount Vernon Neighborhood Patrol Officer, Street Crimes and Narcotics Officer, Supplemental SWAT Officer, K9 Officer, and Range Instructor. In each position that he has filled, he is a natural leader. Although not a supervisor, many officers look to him for advice, guidance and leadership. In fact, his supervisors and commanders rely on his leadership when he is around. His positive attitude is infectious, which is a huge asset for any squad. His dedication loyalty to his team are to be commended.
Chamber of Commerce Valor Awards - The Sheriff’s Office recommends that Deputy Steven Hand, Ashley Battle and Deputy Eloy Reyes receive Life-Saving Awards. On Saturday, December 15, 2018, during the evening hours, a female inmate had a mental health crisis while attending recreation in the detention center gym and the inmate was moved to a cell where she could be more closely monitored by the deputies on duty. Later, in the early morning hours of Sunday, December 16, the inmate was observed covering the security camera located inside her cell. Deputies made their way to the inmate’s cell and found the inmate lying down on the floor next to the toilet with a torn bed sheet wrapped around her neck and tied to the toilet in what was believed to be an attempt to commit suicide. If not for the vigilance, quick response and life savings measures demonstrated by all three deputies, this incident could have had a much different and tragic outcome.
As part of a tradition that spans 58 years, the George Washington Chapter organized an Independence Day Commemoration at George Washington's Mount Vernon. The parade up the bowling green in front of the mansion was led by VASSAR Color Guard Commanders, Pete Davenport and Bill Schwetke and a full contingent of VASSAR Color Guardsman. Chapter Vice President, Jay Henn served as Master of Ceremonies, Chapter President, Dave Thomas delivered an address, greetings were offered by VASSAR President, Pete Davenport and VADAR State Regent, LeAnn Turbyfill, and VASSAR Orations Contest winner, Ms. Lauren Bradshaw, delivered her speech. The event concluded with a wreath laying at General Washington's tomb by George Washington Chapter past President, Ernie Coggins and George Washington Chapter compatriot John Brigden. Members of the SAR, DAR, CAR and public were then invited to lay carnations at the entrance to George and Martha Washington’s tomb. Over 45 members from the George Washington, George Mason, Fairfax Resolves, Culpeper Minutemen, Richmond, Col. William Grayson and Fincastle Resolutions VASSAR Chapters participated in the event. In addition, 3 compatriots from the MDSSAR John Paul Jones Chapter joined in the march. Of special note, the VADAR had an excellent representation with 19 DAR Chapters represented, led by newly installed Mrs. LeAnn Turbyfill, VADAR State Regent. In all, over 120 individuals participated in the ceremonies. After that wreath laying ceremony, GWSAR Vice President, Jay Henn participated in the Mt. Vernon Naturalization Ceremony for 51 new citizens in leading their first Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
On Monday, May 27, 2019 George Washington Chapter compatriots along with compatriot VASSAR and DCSSAR Chapters and members of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) participated in the 2019 Memorial Day events in Washington, D.C. Our unit of compatriots marched down Constitution Avenue in honor to those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and the cause of Liberty from the Revolutionary War to present day.
Chapter Meeting: 11:30 a.m., Saturday, May 11, 2019 - In honor of May–the month of Mother’s Day--we were delighted to present as our featured Chapter meeting speaker Mr. Andrew Och, better known as “The First Ladies Man." Mr. Och is an Award Winning television producer who has traveled the world in search of provocative stories and adventures. In 2012, he began an historical journey as he traversed America for over a year documenting the lives of every First Lady of the United States up to that point in time for the C-SPAN series First Ladies: Influence and Image. The series aired in 2013 to great acclaim and helped reveal the untold stories behind the ladies of the White House. From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama, Mr. Och was given an all-access pass to some of the nation's most treasured collections and historical landmarks. In his presentations--based on the largest complete collection of video and interviews about America's First Ladies that exists in the world--Andrew pulls back the curtain on the public and private lives of this unique sorority of women.
On February 10, early on a very frigid morning, Montebello Condominium resident Denise Bean (wife of Compatriot Lisle Bean) misjudged the height of a high curb and fell outside of their building, suffering a tibia plateau fracture. Montebello Security Access Control (SAC) Officers SGT Robert Fischer and Officer Samford Kwarteng came to her aid and stayed with her until Fairfax County Fire and Rescue arrived. Because of their extraordinary efforts, Paul Walden, Board of Managers, and Montebello resident, presented them with the Outstanding Citizenship Award on April 23 at the Montebello Community Center.
Following the dissolution of an earlier General George Washington Chapter in Alexandria (1940-1951), the current George Washington Chapter was chartered by The Virginia Society, Sons of the American Revolution on April 2, 1954. There were fourteen charter members - ten being the minimum number required to establish a new Chapter. By 1959 that number had grown to 38, and then to 139 by 1971. Today, over 250 Compatriots have either primary or dual membership in the Chapter.
The James Monroe Memorial Foundation held its annual commemoration of James Monroe's birthday at his recently reconstructed birthplace in Colonial Beach, Virginia. Twelve VASSAR Chapters presented wreaths: Richmond, George Mason, Col. William Grayson, James Monroe, Richard Henry Lee, Fairfax Resolves, George Washington, Rappahannock, Williamsburg, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Culpeper Minutemen, and Col. Fielding Lewis. Chapter President Dave Thomas presented a wreath on behalf of the George Washington Chapter. Mr. G. William Thomas, Jr., President of the James Monroe Memorial Foundation served as Master of Ceremonies. Peter Davenport, VASSAR President, discussed James Monroe's contribution to history. VA State Senator Bryce Reeves also gave remarks. More details on the James Monroe Foundation can be found at www.monroefoundation.org.
On September 8, 2018, just before 11 a.m., Mount Vernon patrol officer responded to a 9-1-1 stating that a man came into her apartment and fired a handgun three times. PFC Kelvin Catron arrived on scene just as the subject exited the apartment, noticed the subject was still holding the weapon in his right hand and challenged the subject to stop and drop his weapon. The subject refused to drop the weapon. PFC Catron, while holding the subject at gunpoint radioed to responding officers to coordinate their arrival without creating a crossfire situation. MPO Joseph Wallace was the second officer on scene and took cover while attempting to negotiate with the subject. PFC Matthew Dobson arrived on scene and escorted other residents out of the apartment building. The subject eventually surrendered after MPO Wallace was successful using his negotiating skills and was transported to INOVA Mount Vernon Hospital due to his unusual mental behavior. The actions of all these officers led to a quick response and stabilization of the scene. Their cooperation and coordination ensured a peaceful resolution for everyone around as well as the safe apprehension of the subject without incident.
March Chapter meeting and luncheon. Our speaker was Mark Maloy, speaking on the pivotal Revolutionary War engagements at Trenton and Princeton. Mr. Maloy is a historian currently working for the National Park Service in Virginia, specifically the George Washington Memorial Parkway which administers important historic sites such as Arlington House. Mr. Maloy has worked at numerous public historic sites and archaeological digs for the past ten years. His interest in history was sparked by visiting George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate as a child. When not working he is an avid Civil War and Revolutionary War re-enactor and living historian.
The Alexandria George Washington Birthday Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Revolution are both ceremonies that recognize and honor the soldiers of the American Revolution.
On February 8th and 9th, eleven George Washington Chapter members attended the 129th VASSAR Annual Meeting at the Omni Hotel in Richmond, VA. During the meeting the George Washington Chapter was recognized for its 2018 performance under the leadership of past-president, Ernie Coggins. During the two-day meeting, the Chapter received numerous accolades, including streamers for the Chapter Excellence Award and for nominating State-level winners of the Best EMS Person of the Year (shared by Lieutenant Brian Marks and Technician Johnathon Hartmann of the Prince William County Fire and Rescue) and the Best Life Saver of the Year (Deputy Myrna Juarez of the Alexandria City Sherriff’s Department).
George Washington Chapter conducted the Chapter Winter Working Meeting to address important Chapter business and set the tone for 2019. Topics addressed where Chapter meetings, ceremonies, activities, the newsletter and the website. Thoughts are more than welcomed anytime throughout the year.
Our Chapter Meeting was held on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at the Belle Haven Country Club. Our quest speaker was John Patrick Murphy, a retired corporate attorney, historian and lecturer, will address Chapter members and guests on the topic of “Understanding the Bill of Rights as Enacted by the Founders and its Metamorphosis Over the Centuries” at our regularly-scheduled January meeting
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