President Van Deacon called the meeting to order; the Rev. Bill Beard gave the invocation; and Deacon led the pledge to the U.S. flag; Dave Whaley led the pledge to the Tennessee flag; and Joe Brock led the SAR flag pledge.
Deacon commented on several issues. He proposed several changes for the chapter including a reworked chapter website, and increased committee activity.
He mentioned an online system through which members might want to pay for their meals. He also commented on the new movie “Lincoln” and how much we don’t know about a famous person, especially the political side in Lincoln’s case.
Deacon asked for volunteers to work with individual schools providing patriotic/historical support. He also commented on how so many great individuals, like the founding fathers, could all come together at one time in history.
Under officer reports, Deacon spoke on the upcoming Patriots Day on April 19, and announced the Col. Benjamin Cleveland statue would be unveiled at the First Street Park during the ceremony on that day.
Stan Evans and Claude Hardison gave additional information on the current status, and details of the placement of the statue.
Deacon also announced he was placing James Stone’s name in contention for the state position of director of District 3. The Treasurer’s Report was given, and both the general and statue are in good shape.
Evans thanked all for their cards, prayers and support given him during his recent surgery to have a kidney removed.
Evans also reported on the recent Wreaths Across America program at the Chattanooga National Cemetery on Dec. 15. He noted he was unable to attend the program this year since he was in the hospital, but that he did chair the chapter’s “selling of wreaths” for display at the cemetery. He stated the chapter sold wreaths totaling $1,035 this year. And with $5 for each wreath sold coming back to the chapter, the chapter will now receive a total of $345 for its treasury from the wreaths sold.
TNSSAR Vice President and chapter member Claude Hardison reported on several upcoming events.
He stated the Tennessee Society Board of Governors meeting would be held on Jan. 12 in Franklin, with several members of the chapter planning to attend. He also noted in March the Tennessee Society SAR State Convention would be held in Chattanooga.
Hardison said the results of several state contests were already announced, and the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter place second in the Friends of the Library as well as Committee for the Advancement of America’s Heritage events.
Past Chapter President David Hicks, who for many years has led the chapter’s participation in the History Fair, introduced the keynote speaker Kathryn Ervin, 4-H Program assistant in charge of the History Fair who has been a 4-H’er since she was in the fourth grade.
A native of Cleveland, Ervin attended Big Spring Elementary, Bradley Central High School and Cleveland State Community College. She has four children and one grandchild. She attends Farmland Community Church, where she serves as the children’s education director. She was an active 4-H member during high school and devoted her time to the leadership, citizenry and clothing projects. Later she became the 4-H program assistant for the University of Tennessee’s Bradley County Extension Office.
She has served in this position for the past 15 years where she develops monthly programs and meets 4-H clubs in classrooms.
Some of her awards include the 2006 Loyalty Day Award and the Mildred Pendergrass Award for Services from UT Institute of Agriculture. The 4-H History Fair was Ervin’s brainchild, and the program has become more successful throughout the last seven years.
Ervin started by saying the 4-H started in 1911 with the Girl’s Canning Club and the Boy’s Corn Club. And in 1941 there were 414 members of the 4-H, while today there are 3,808. She said the 4-H stands for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health, and t the 4-H motto is To Make The Best Better.
Ervin thanked the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter for all its monetary support to the History Fair poster contest each year, and for faithfully providing judges for the contests. This year the History Fair date will be moved from May to November.
Ervin discussed the many programs the 4-H has in different grades, but concentrated on the learning projects in grades 4 through 6. Their different subjects include Tennessee Indians, the Three Grand Divisions, Tennessee’s Natural Divisions, Famous Tennesseans, Historical Tennesseans and many, many more.
On the subject of Tennessee Indians, she mentioned the Cherokee in the East, the Creek also in the East, and the Choctaw in the West.
Speaking about famous Tennesseans, she mentioned people like the late Reggie White, a football star; the late journalist Carl Rowan with “Meet the Press”; Leroy Reeves, who chose the design of the Tennessee flag; author Alex Haley; Olympic track star Wilma Rudolph; surgeon and legislator Dr. Dorothy Brown; the Jubilee Singers of Fisk College, and many more. Recent Tennesseans in this category always include Elvis, Dolly Parton, Al Gore and Lamar Alexander. Also falling into the category of historical Tennesseans were John Sevier, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, David Crockett and Cordell Hull and many others.
Special mention was made of Sequoyah, who developed the Cherokee syllabary (alphabet) of 86 characters, which took him 12 years. Also William Strickland, the architect who designed the Tennessee State Capital building, which took him 14 years. In 1845, it was the second-oldest state Capital building in the country behind Maryland. He stated this was his greatest accomplishment, and requested to be buried there. There is also another Tennessean buried on the state capital grounds, and that is President James K. Polk.
The guest introduced was Bobby Kimsey, a friend of Deacon. All wives and visitors were welcomed and recognized.
With no further business, Van Deacon proceeded to close the meeting by leading the Recessional and the Rev. Bill Beard delivered the benediction. The closing gavel was struck and the meeting was adjourned.