Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Richard D. Orr
Commander-in-Chief 1997 / 1998


Richard David Orr of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was elected Commander-in-Chief by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) at the 116th National Encampment in Utica New York on August 9, 1997. He was born October 13, 1948 in Pittsburgh, the eldest child of Bernadette Elizabeth Wetter Orr and the late David Bernard Orr, Past Department Commander of the Pennsylvania Department.

As a youth, the Brother Orr was very active in scouting where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout and was awarded the Vigil Honor in the Order of the Arrow. Richard received a Bachelor of Science degree from Pennsylvania State University in June 1970 and completed the Master of Science in Biology at Idaho State University in May 1972. While attending college he maintained his affiliation with the Boy Scouts and his community service through his membership in Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity where he held several leadership positions.

For his many years of service to youth as a volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America, Brother Orr was awarded the District Award of Merit in May 1974. The National Catholic Committee on Scouting recognized his contributions to youth when he was presented the St. George Award in October 1977. When he received this award it became the first time in the history of Scouting that a father and son had both received this award. His father having received the same honor some ten years earlier. The National Court of Honor of the Boy Scouts of America recognized Brother Orr's contributions to Scouting when it presented him with the Silver Beaver Award in May 1983. This is the highest award a local council can recommend that the National Court of Honor bestow upon a volunteer. Scouting history was once again made when this presentation was made. This was only the second time that a father and son had both been so honored. And to the best of anyone's knowledge Richard and his father remain the only father and son who were both honored with the St. George Award, District Award of Merit and Silver Beaver Award by the Boy Scouts of America.

Richard joined Davis * Camp in Pittsburgh on April 11, 1981 and he is a life member. He bases his eligibility for membership on the service of his Great-great-grandfather Pvt. Peter Paul Gallisath, 5th Pennsylvania Cavalry, his Great-great-grandfather Sgt. Martin Schaefer, Pennsylvania Militia of 1863 (Federalized to defend the arsenal at Pittsburgh during the Gettysburg Campaign), Great-great-grandfather Sgt. David Orr, 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Great-great-great Uncle Capt. Bardele Gallisath, 5th Pennsylvania Cavalry and 135 other cousins and uncles including Col. Robert L. Orr, 61st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry who was awarded the Medal of Honor. He has served Davis * Camp in numerous capacities including Camp Commander for two years and 12 years as Treasurer. He attended his first Department Encampment in June 1982 and immediately took an active role at the Department level. He has served the Pennsylvania Department as Patriotic Instructor, Junior Vice Commander, Senior Vice Commander, Counselor, Department Council member and Department Commander. The same year he attended his first National Encampment at Portland, Maine. He has served the National Organization as a member and or chairman of numerous committees. He served as Trial Commissioner, six years as National Treasurer and National Counselor to eight Commanders-in- Chief. Most recently he has served as Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief and Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief.

In addition to his activities in the SUVCW and Scouts, Brother Orr is an active member of the Pittsburgh Model Railroad Historical Society, where he has served two terms as a member of the Board of Directors, and the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Commandery, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States and is a Charter member of the Congress of Patriotic Organizations. He is also a life member of the Penn State Alumni Association, life member of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity and life member of the National Rifle Association.

Richard is employed as an Environmental Health Administrator by the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), Pittsburgh. He has worked for ACHD for the past 19 years in a variety of programs including Public Drinking Water, Waste Management, Food Protection, Housing, Community Environment, Emergency Response and the Deputy Directors staff. Currently, he is the Department Training Coordinator and is responsible for the evaluation of the training needs, the acquisition of training and coordination of internal and external training for all ACHD employees. During his tenure with ACHD he has been issued two community service citations by the Allegheny County Board of Commissioners and recognized by his subordinates for his uncompromising dedication to sound principles of environmental health and environmental protection. He has also been recognized by the United States Army Corps of Engineers for his role in the development of an intra-governmental plan for the provision of an uninterrupted supply of drinking water during environmental emergencies with the Corps' Planning Excellence Award.

He has two brothers - Donald and Robert, one sister - Geraldine, two nephews - Nathan and Jonathan, and two nieces -- Emily and Karen. Don, Bob and Nathan are members of Davis * Camp. Gerrie is the accountant for the SUVCW.

August 1997



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