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DAR Yavapai Chapter celebrates 35 years

Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution Yavapai Chapter gather for a group photo during their 35th anniversary luncheon Wednesday afternoon April 20, 2016 at the Centennial Event Center in Prescott.
Photo by Matt Hinshaw.

Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution Yavapai Chapter gather for a group photo during their 35th anniversary luncheon Wednesday afternoon April 20, 2016 at the Centennial Event Center in Prescott.

“God, Home and Country.”

For 125 years, this motto has been carried on by generations of women who have joined the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The nonprofit society was founded in October, 1890 to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism.

Sitting at the helm of the Yavapai Chapter is Sue Burk and Dorothy Castanos.

“Both Dorothy and I bleed red, white and blue,” Burk said.

This diehard patriotism is looked upon favorably by DAR representatives, but such fervor is not enough to become a member of the society.

One must be able to prove that an ancestor actively participated in some capacity during the Revolutionary War — on the Colonial side, of course.

To do this, documents showing a genealogical link to such an ancestor have to exist and be available for review.

“You have to go online, get birth certificates, death certificates and then going back to your wills, newspaper articles, whatever you can find,” Castanos said.

“We will work with them to find their patriot connection if they are seriously interested in joining our group,” Burk said.

It’s that connection that truly ties all of the women in the organization together with a sense of pride for their country and a desire to support four specific categories of society: patriotism, historic preservation, community service and literary education.

“Those sort of things are really emphasized,” Burk said.

The organization typically fundraises for charitable causes by hosting small events, such as garage sales or raffles. They also have members in their group that choose to donate their own money to specific causes through the organization.

One such cause is called Honor Flight.

In 2014, The Yavapai Chapter of DAR began sponsoring its first flight with Honor Flight AZ and has to date sponsored six individual flights to Washington DC for World War II veterans to visit their memorial and other monuments. 

In 2015 the Yavapai Chapter met with Honor Flight AZ and helped developed a unique program with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) to sponsor and send ROTC Cadets to accompany the WW ll Vets.

To date, there have been 10 cadets as well as 10 Yavapai Chapter DAR members that have flown with Honor Flight AZ to help as attendants.

Since this year marks the 50th anniversary to the U.S. officially entering the Vietnam War with troops, Burk said reaching out to those soldiers is their top priority at this point.

“We’re trying to seek them out and give them certificates and things like that,” Burk said.

The Yavapai Chapter currently sits at 71 members ranging in age from early 20s to a 105-year-old. The group meets once a month and primarily focuses their efforts within the tri-city area.

Having just celebrated their 35th anniversary as a chapter of DAR this month, the members are taking time to realize how far they’ve come since 1981.

“The people who started the chapter 35 years ago, only a couple are still alive today,” Burk said.

Castanos said their primary aspiration going forward is simply to do more for the community.

“Our main problem is we wish we could so much more,” Dorothy said. “Once you get started with something, you don’t want to stop, and there’s always more need than what you can present.”

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