By Dasha Morgan
Since 1916 the Joseph McDowell Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution has provided support for Veterans at the local hospital in Asheville. This Chapter is part of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution with 169 members currently, who all are direct lineal descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving American independence. On October 5, 2019 the national society of DAR surpassed the million mark of total members (Daughters) who have joined the organization since 1890. The honor went to Amy Dickinson, Chicago Tribune columnist, author, and public speaker.
At their last meeting on October 11th at The Cedars in downtown Hendersonville, the Chapter invited Bev Bradigan, the Charles George Medical Center Supervisory Recreation Specialist, to speak. She applauded all the wonderful contributions the Chapter has made and particularly for its sponsorship of the 5th floor Psychiatric Ward at the Charles George Medical Center. Their continued support over the years and many contributions, such as stunning lap quilts, tote bags for those wheel chair bound and other gifts, have lifted the Veterans’ spirits and been more than beneficial.
Ann McFadden, the DAR Service for Veterans Chair, visits the VA hospital patients at least twice monthly with her Certified Therapy Dog, Ezzie. At this meeting Buffy Wells, a Daughter, displayed the new jacket she had made for Ezzie with her name written on the side and extra pockets for treats. Then Bev Bradigan, the speaker, described how a catatonic, non-verbal patient, who had not spoken for weeks, once saw Ezzie and suddenly opened up and began talking about her own childhood dog. It was very moving for all present, as a great deal of time had elapsed since the patient had spoken a single word. Bev also described how vital and needed the Recreational Therapy program is for these Veterans. This program, which the Hendersonville Chapter actively supports, helps them overcome mental roadblocks. It helps them to relieve stress, start more meaningful personal relationships and develop leisure interests. In order to adjust to the day-to-day world, the patients are taken on community outings—sometimes to play golf, sometimes it’s bowling, or another activity. Later this year the Chapter will be holding a holiday party for the Veterans on the ward.
Bev also described the VA’s new model apartment with a kitchen that is being put together at the hospital in Building 62. This should help the Veterans develop the skills needed for day-to-day living once they leave the hospital. A list of possible donations for this apartment was passed out to the DAR members. She also proudly announced that the Charles George VA Health Care System is considered the Number 1 Veteran’s hospital in the United States and received the 2019 ANCC Pathway Award®, sponsored by Cerner. Located in Asheville, North Carolina, CGVAMC serves Veterans living in Western North Carolina, upstate South Carolina and Georgia, and Eastern Tennessee.
Besides providing support for Veterans at the hospital, the Joseph McDowell Chapter has many other activities. It promotes Constitution Week in the schools and community. It contributes to the DAR-sponsored schools Crossnore and Tamassee. It sponsors American History essay contests in schools and recognizes the students, awards ROTC Medals, recognizes “Good Citizens” in high schools, gives Youth Citizenship medals to 8th graders and recognizes community volunteers. It also recognizes Naturalized Citizens after the annual Naturalization Ceremonies on July 3 and gives special grants for local projects in the areas of historic preservation, education and environmental conservation. Indeed this is a very active DAR Chapter, one of over 100 Chapters in North Carolina.
The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution
The National Society (NSDAR) was founded in 1890 at a time when when the country was still healing after the War Between the States, and the four founders represented both the North and the South. Today the DAR is the world’s largest women’s organization with over 3,000 Chapters in the US and overseas. International chapters can be found in Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, France, Germany, Guam, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom. It is comprised of women from diverse backgrounds united by a common bond – the lineal descent from patriots of the American Revolution. Any woman 18 years or older-regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible for membership.The original mission to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism continues to this day. Their motto is “God, Home, and Country. NSDAR is exempt from Federal income taxes under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and receives no government funding.
The National DAR is proud to be a corporate sponsor of the Mobile Education Exhibit for Wreaths Across America. The Mobile Education Exhibit is a 48-foot trailer that furthers the Wreaths Across America goal to Remember, Honor, Teach (remember the fallen, honor those who serve and their families and teach our children the value of freedom in local communities). A number of the local Daughters participated in the Wreaths Across America Ceremony at the Veterans Ceremony at the cemetery in Black Mountain last year and will do so again on December 14th.
“The objectives laid forth in the first meeting of the DAR have remained the same in 125 years of active service to the nation. Those objectives are: Historical – to perpetuate the memory and spirit of the men and women who achieved American Independence; Educational – to carry out the injunction of Washington in his farewell address to the American people, “to promote, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge, thus developing an enlightened public opinion…”; and Patriotic – to cherish, maintain, and extend the institutions of American freedom, to foster true patriotism and love of country, and to aid in securing for mankind all the blessings of liberty.” This was taken from their Daughters of the Revolution Official Website.