1. I am pleased to announce that the Order now has a new editor of the Banner. Brother Gregory Hayes of Linden, Michigan was appointed by the Council of Administration as Editor of the Banner on 7 February 1995. In addition, I have appointed Brothers Paul Huff of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and Danny Wheeler of Ithaca, New York, as National Aides to serve in the capacity as an Assistant Editor and Advertising Editor, respectively, for the Banner. With Brother Hayes appointment as Banner Editor, also comes a second appointment as Chair of the Special National Committee on Banner Printing and Distribution. The Banner is now being prepared almost entirely by computer. As a consequence, you are encouraged when and where possible to submit your articles to Brother Hayes on computer disk or e-mail. The Banner will also now begin to take advertisements.
2. As a reminder, all address changes should be processed through your Camps and Departments and sent to National Secretary David Wallace. For those Brothers who have e-mail or fax capabilities, you may also send your correspondence through these vehicles (Brother Wallace has a new e-mail address: jmwl2Oovi@aol.com). Requisitions for supplies should be mailed directly to the National Quartermaster, PC-in-C Elmer Atkinson.
3. Also as a reminder, copies of the Order's two publications entitled, Job Descriptions for Camp and Department Officers SUVCW and Job Descriptions for National Organization Officers and Standing Committees SUVCW, are available through our National Quartermaster. Neither of these publications happened to appear on the requisition sheet in the last issue of the Banner. They are, however, available, and I would strongly encourage all Camp, Department and National Officers to obtain a copy of each of these publications along with a copy of the Order's Constitution and Regulations. You cannot fulfill your responsibilities if you do not know what you are suppose to do.
4. The National Organization has been heading into the computer world at a very fast pace. Currently, the entire membership mailing list and the creation and processing of Banner have been computerized. In addition, we have begun to place on computer disk our various historical inventories of records, and hopefully this year we should have in place the beginnings of a computerized national graves registration program. As a consequence of both our current and anticipated needs, I created last year the Special National Committee on Computer Software and Standardization to look at the some of the issues which could cause us some problems in the future in terms of compatibility of data base, word processing and financial software. The Committee has since completed and presented its report. The following are the standards which were recommended by the Committee and are now passed on to the membership.
Software Packages Recommendation
5. It has been amazing the number of Brothers all over this country who have been writing me via e-mail and fax. It is almost as if the Order after 114 years is just now "coming of age" in terms of communications. Personally, I have found these communication vehicles to be invaluable and a tremendous time and money saver, not only to me as Commander-in-Chief but also to the Order. I would strongly encourage all Brothers to seriously consider these additional forms of communication at least as an adjunct to the more conventional forms of U.S. Mail and telephone.
6. The Order is going on-line probably sometime later this month. The Council of Administration has approved a trial period to establish a membership inquiry bulletin board on America-on-Line. The purpose of the bulletin board will be to provide information on the Order and an e-mail and regular mail contact to prospective members to write to for an application. I have appointed Brother Glenn Knight (Senior Vice Commander, Pennsylvania Department, KA3KWM@aol.com) as a National Aide to work with American-on-Line to develop this program.
7. The deadline for submittal of biographical information for the SUVCW History Book will be extended until 30 April, 1995. After that date, the book goes to press. Therefore, I strongly encourage any Brother who has not yet forwarded his and his ancestor's biographies to Turner Publishing Company, to do so before the end of April. Specific information on how to complete and where to send your biographies may be found in the last issue of the Banner (Volume 99, Issue 1).
8. On 12 February in Washington, DC, I and the National Presidents of our Allied Orders attended and laid a wreath on behalf of each of our respective Orders in recognition of Abraham Lincoln's birthday. Despite the cold weather, the ceremony was well attended. Our Sons of Veterans Reserve, headed up by PC-in-C General Charles Corfman, accounted for themselves admirably.
9. Since the last issue the Banner, I have had the honor and privilege of conferring a Certificate of Merit to five individuals, none of whom are members of the Order. The recipients of the certificates were: Gail Seitz, Past National President of the Daughters of Union Veterans (DUVCW) and four gentlemen (Robert Simpson, Terry Foenander, Barry Crompton and Roy Parker) from Australia. Sister Seitz was presented the certificate as a result of her very generous contribution of $5,000 to establish a fund for the maintenance of the Samuel W. Grinnell Post #283 Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Hall in Sunfield, Michigan. This hall is currently home to the Helen M. Edwins Tent #30, DUVCW and the Curtenius Guard Camp #17, SUVCW (my camp). The thoughtfulness of Sister Seitz is much appreciated. Certificates were also presented to the four men from Australia for their past, present and currently ongoing work in locating and marking the graves of American veterans buried in Australia. In terms of Union Civil War graves, they have located over 150. During the same period, I have had the pleasure of conferring Certificates of Merit and National Aide status on the following Brothers for their membership recruitment activities: Douglas E. Smith, New York (3 new members); Joseph Pucciarelli, New York (4 new members); James Grismer, New York (12 new members), Charles Sharrock, Colorado (4 new members), Ellsworth W. Brown, Massachusetts (6 new members) and Jerome Orton, New York (5 new members). Finally, I was very pleased to confer National Aide status on James W. Dark, Texas, for representing the Commander-in-Chief at the Edward Lea Camp #2 charter presentation ceremony.
10. Since becoming Commander-in-Chief, I have been made aware of several deaths. On behalf of the National Organization, I wish to express my sympathy to the families of the following late Brothers:
11. In theory, when a GAR Post was disbanded, all records and property were to be transferred to the Department and when the Department disbanded, to the National Organization. A similar progression is suppose to take place in the SUVCW. In fact, this seldom ever happened. Today, GAR Post and many SUVCW Camp records are scattered all over this country in a variety of locations. In addition to records, many of these Posts and Camps had savings and/or checking accounts. This money usually ended up reverting to the escheats division or department within the state in which the Post or Camp was located. As the legal heir of the GAR, the SUVCW may lay claim to these funds. The National Organization has begun to make a concerted effort to locate and recover these funds. It has been decided by the Council of Administration that Departments should also actively explore the possibility of such funds in their respective state(s). The National Organization will initiate inquiries in those states without an existing Department. The National Secretary will be mailing information to all Departments which should help with your search. If you need additional assistance on to how to go about this, contact National Counselor James B. Pahl (445 Maple, Mason, Michigan 48854-1519).
12. In addition to the many new Camps which have been and are still being formed all over this country this year, come 13 May 1995 the National Organization should be also become larger by at least one new Department. National Secretary Dave Wallace and I will be traveling to Texas to create the Department of the Southwest. The Department will be composed of two, possibly three, Camps in Texas and one Camp in Oklahoma. There is still a possibly for more Departments yet this year. The team of Dean Lamphere, National Membership-at-Large Coordinator, and Richard Greene, National Camp and Department Organizer, are to be commended for all the work that they have done. Given the magnitude of the number of inquiries these Brothers process, I am hereby appointing Brother Edgar Dowd (Department of Michigan) as a National Aide to serve in the capacity as an assistant to the National Membership-at-Large Coordinator. This year should be a banner year (pardon the pun) in terms of new members, new camps and new departments.
13. The Oliver Tilden Camp #26 of New York City will be holding its annual commemoration of the birthday of General Ulysses S. Grant on 30 April at Grant's Tomb, 122nd Street and Riverside Drive, Manhattan. Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend due my attendance at the New Hampshire Department Encampment. I have, however, sent remarks to be presented on behalf of the National Organization. I would encourage as many Brothers as possible to attend this very important ceremony in order to bring attention to the neglect of this American memorial and symbol of purpose and resolve.
14. Brothers are reminded and urged to send their donations to both the Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief’s and the GAR Memorial Funds. Both funds are integral to the operation of the our Order. Donations to the Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief’s Fund may be sent to Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief David Medert (16 Shawnee Drive, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601-1148). Donations to the GAR Memorial Fund may be sent to National Patriotic Instructor Danny Wheeler (501 Willow Ave., Ithaca, New York 14850). In both cases, checks should be made payable to the "National Organization - SUVCW." No donation is too small.
15. With the beginning of spring, we are all getting ready for our annual Department Encampments. It is at these Encampments where decisions are made as to what should be forwarded to the National Organization for consideration at its Encampment in August. Various items such as proposed changes to the Constitution and/or Regulations, endorsements for Brothers to a variety of elected national offices, and proposals to the National Organization for consideration of special requests are presented each year. As a suggestion for consideration at your Department Encampments, thoroughly think out your proposed changes or requests; the clearer they are, the better chance they will be understood and possibly adopted by the National Organization. Also, and in particular for proposed Constitution or Regulations changes, look at the existing wording and then develop language using the least amount of wording change which will, if adopted, still result in what you want.
16. Camps are reminded that they should hold appropriate ceremonies on Memorial Day, 30 May. This is the date established by the Grand Army of the Republic and General John A. Logan in his famous Order #11 The charge to ensure that appropriate ceremonies are held each year was officially given to the Order by the Grand Army. This is a charge that in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty to GAR we should never neglect.
17. I hereby order that all Camp and Department charters be draped for 30 days in memory of our departed Brothers and in respect for their survivors.
By Order Of
Keith G. Harrison
David F. Wallace