STATE OF THE ORDER
Brothers of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War it is a great honor to stand before you today and review the changes that our Order has undergone during the past twelve months. On August 10, 2002 at our 121st National Encampment in Springfield, Illinois you elected and installed me as the 116th Commander-in-Chief of this great fraternal Order. I find it interesting that I took office in the Land of Lincoln and now as we meet to review the work of the past year and prepare for the future we meet in Kentucky the birthplace of the immortal Abraham Lincoln.
Our Order has been transformed in many ways during the past twelve months as a result of actions taken during our last encampment. It has been my privilege to implement some of the most dramatic changes our Order has undergone since the birth of this venerable organization in 1881. There are always some who find change difficult to accept. Fear of the unknown is natural, but once we become adjusted to our new situation we generally discover the change was a positive move.
I would like to commend the team of national officers and committee members who I have been privileged to work with during this past year. Their dedication and devotion to the cause for which the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War exist is absolutely astounding. They have accepted and overcome every challenge presented during the year. As you hear and review their reports, I think you too will agree that a finer team could not have been found.
One of the most difficult changes for some of our members to accept was the per capita tax increase of $6.00 per year which went into effect January 1, 2003. However, such action was necessary to keep our Order in a sound financial position. Most people understand the economic situation of our country, and when they see state and local governments raising taxes and many corporations suffering a down turn in profits they recognize that organizations such as ours suffer from low interest returns while our operating expenses climb as we provide more and better services to our members and expand our heritage preservations efforts.
Our membership has decreased slightly since this per capita increase took effect. However, we should not forget that ten years ago our membership was less than 3500. We have already seen some of those members who were distraught over the increase in per capita start to renew their membership. I am confident we will soon regain the membership strength we had prior to the per capita tax increase and the Order will continue to grow.
The new annual reporting system took effect this spring replacing the old quarterly reporting system that existed from the beginning of our organization. This affected the camp and department officers much more than the general membership. The response to this change has been overwhelming favorable. Yet, we had a few who found this change difficult to accept. Again, I am confident those who would have preferred to keep the quarterly system will come to like the change as they become more familiar with the way the new system works.
Through the efforts of our Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Kent Armstrong and the Program and Policy Committee all of our forms are now available on our national web site and can be down loaded as needed. Because of this, I issued General Order No. 11 requiring all camps and departments to use the most current forms. The task of the National Executive Director Lee Walters is a very difficult one and getting a variety of forms, some over 20 years old doesn't help the situation. I want to extend a special thank you for your help and cooperation in this area.
The necessary procedures for implementing the distribution of the new R.O.T.C. medal through the national patriotic instructor have been completed and Brother Don Darby has done an excellent job in getting this program running smoothly.
The encampment last year authorized a military service medal for SUVCW Brothers who served honorably in the Armed Forces of the United States. I appointed a special committee chaired by the National Patriotic Instructor Don Darby to design a medal for this purpose. The committees design was approved by the Council of Administration and the new Military Service Medal is now available for purchase through the National Quartermaster.
Brother Darby also gets the credit for the Last Soldier Project which seeks to identify and mark the grave site of the last Civil War veteran to die in each county and in each state in the United States. I am extremely pleased with the initial response to this program and encourage each camp and department to vigorously pursue this endeavor.
In compliance with the wishes of the 121st National Encampment I appointed a special committee chaired by Past Ohio Department Commander David V. Medert to seek alternative ways to fund the various projects of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. The recommendation of this committee was to form an independent 501(c) 3 corporation. I am happy to report such a corporation called the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Charitable Foundation has been formed. It is an Ohio Corporation with headquarters at the Ohio Veterans Home, Sandusky, Ohio. Seven directors have been appointed to manage this new foundation. Ed Krieser is the chairman of the board with Jon Silvis serving as Secretary and Jim Houston serving as Treasurer. The other members of the board are Bob Petrovic, Harrison Scott Baker II, Linn Hoadley and Henry Shaw. I want to extend a special thanks to Henry Shaw for spear heading the filing of the Articles of Incorporation. It is hoped that this foundation will attract tax deductible contributions and raise funds through the sale of a variety of merchandise promoting the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. The foundation will hopefully use these funds to support projects sanctioned by the SUVCW such as memorial and monument restoration and preservation; scholarships; Civil War heritage educational programs and other projects that help perpetuate the legacy of the Grand Army of the Republic.
You may have noticed the new Commander-in-Chief seal on the podium. The one used for several years was showing its age and had to be replaced. Through the efforts of our Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Kent Armstrong and our Executive Director Lee Walters we were able to retire the old seal to the national headquarters office at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and replace it with the one you see here.
In my travels throughout the country I have seen nothing but hard working Brothers doing a fantastic job on a volunteer basis to promote the memory of the Grand Army of the Republic. If Benjamin Franklin Stephenson the founder of the G.A.R. or Major A. P. Davis founder of what is now called the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War was to re-appear I think both would say "Well done Brothers". We have successfully implemented all the mandates of the last encampment, and the Order has withstood the winds of change and is headed for a brilliant future sailing on a sound financial base. I am happy to report the State of the Order is excellent and improving daily and the credit for this success goes to the hard working Brothers of this great Order. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your Commander-in-Chief.
Robert E. Grim
Robert E. Grim
2002 - 2003
August 8 - 11, 2002 Springfield, Illinois- Attended the 121st National Encampment of the SUVCW
August 11, 2002 Springfield, Illinois - Presided over the National Council of Administration meeting
September 6 - 8, 2002 Toledo, Ohio - Attended the National Convention of the General Society of the War of 1812
September 16, 2002 Washington Court House, Ohio - Attended the Regular meeting of Henry Casey Camp No. 92 SUVCW
October 4 - 6, 2002 St. Louis, Missouri - attended the SUVCW Central Region Association Conference
November 15 - 17, 2002 Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - Participated in the 46th Annual Grand Army of the Republic Remembrance Day program
November 18, 2002 Washington Court House, Ohio - Attended the Regular meeting of Henry Casey Camp No. 92 SUVCW
January 11 - 13, 2003 Charlotte, North Carolina - Presented Charter to Gibbon-Burke Camp No. 2 Camp-at-Large
January 21, 2003 Washington Court House, Ohio - Attended the Regular meeting of Henry Casey Camp No. 92 SUVCW
January 25, 2003 Huntington, Indiana - Attended the Mid-Winter meeting of the Indiana Department SUVCW
February 9, 2003 Mansfield, Ohio - Attended Lincoln Day Dinner sponsored by McLaughlin Camp Ohio Department SUVCW
February 10 - 12, 2003 Washington D.C. - Attended the Annual Meeting of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) and participated in the annual Lincoln Memorial Wreath Laying ceremony
March 2, 2003 Chillicothe, Ohio - Participated in an Ohio Bicentennial ceremony for Gen. Nathanial Massie at Grandview Cemetery
March 8, 2003 Sandusky, Ohio - Presided over the Spring Council of Administration meeting at the Ohio Veterans Home
March 18, 2003 Washington Court House, Ohio - Attended the regular meeting of Henry Casey Camp No. 92 SUVCW
March 28-31, 2003 San Luis Obispo, California - Attended the Department of California and Pacific Department Encampment
April 4 - 6, 2003 Grand Rapids, Michigan - Attended the Department of Michigan Encampment
April 11 - 13, 2003 Des Monies, Iowa - Attended the Department of Iowa Encampment
April 13, 2003 Petersburg, Illinois - Attended ceremony at Rose Hill Cemetery sponsored by the Department of Illinois honoring Major Benjamin Franklin Stephenson founder of the Grand Army of the Republic
April 15, 2003 Springfield, Illinois - Delivered address at the 47th Annual Lincoln Tomb Ceremony at Oak Ridge Cemetery
April 22, 2003 Washington Court House, Ohio - Presented patriotic flag program to the Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority
April 26, 2003 New York City - Delivered address at the annual commemoration of the birthday of Gen. U.S. Grant sponsored by the Oliver Tilden Camp No. 26 Department of New York at the Grant Tomb
April 30, 2003 Hillsboro, Ohio - Received recognition from the Knights of the York Cross of Honour
May 2, 2003 Wilmington, Ohio - Participated with Henry Casey Camp No. 92 in an all day Civil War living history program at the Clinton County Fairgrounds for 5th and 6th grade students from several school districts.
May 10, 2003 Springfield, Ohio - Attended the annual state convention of the Ohio Society of the Sons of the American Revolution
May 12, 2003 Washington Court House, Ohio - Attended ceremony at the Washington Court House Cemetery dedicating an Ohio Bicentennial plaque identifying the mausoleum of Harry Daugherty who served as Attorney General for President Warren G. Harding
May 12, 2003 Washington Court House, Ohio - Attended ceremony at the Fayette County Court House dedicating an Ohio Bicentennial plaque honoring artist Archibald Willard painter of patriotic scenes including the American Revolutionary War scene The Spirit of 76
May 18, 2003 Chillicothe, Ohio - Participated in a ceremony at Grandview Cemetery dedicating a marker to American Revolutionary War patriots buried there
May 20, 2003 Washington Court House, Ohio - Attended the regular meeting of Henry Casey Camp No. 92
May 24, 2003 Oregon, Ohio - Participated in a ceremony at Willow Cemetery rededicating a Civil War monument restored by the General James B. McPherson Camp No. 66
May 26, 2003 Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - Participated in a Memorial Day parade and the 136th annual Gettysburg Memorial Day observance by placing a floral wreath at the Soldier's Monument in the National Cemetery at the invitation of Gettysburg Camp No. 112
May 30, 2003 Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia - Participated in the re-creation of the 1873 GAR Decoration Day/ Memorial Day program at the invitation of Lincoln-Cushing Camp No. 2, Department of Maryland
June 6 - 8, 2003 Cortland, New York - Attended the Department of New York Encampment
June 13 - 15, 2003 Alliance, Ohio - Attended the Department of Ohio Encampment
June 20 - 22, 2003 St. Louis, Missouri - Attended the Department of Missouri Encampment
June 27 - 29, 2003 Carlisle, Pennsylvania - Attended the Department of Pennsylvania Encampment
July 11, 2003 Washington Court House, Ohio - Conducted a patriotic program on the U.S. Flag for the Commission on Aging
July 30 -31, 2003 Asheville, North Carolina - Brought greetings from the SUVCW to the national reunion of the Sons of Confederate Veterans
August 7, 2003 Fort Mitchell, Kentucky - Presided over the Council of Administration pre-encampment meeting
August 8 - 9, 2003 Fort Mitchell, Kentucky - Presided over the 122nd National Encampment of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
September 7, 2002 - Elected Registrar General of the General Society of the War of 1812
September 29, 2002 - Elected Sovereign Master of the Harry E. Sark Council No. 186 Allied Masonic Degrees
November 20, 2002 - Elected 2nd Vice President of the Arthur St. Clair Chapter of the Ohio Society Sons of the American Revolution
April 15, 2003 - Elected Deputy Governor General of the National Society Sons of Colonial New England 1620 - 1776
May 1, 2003 - Received the Fayette County, Ohio Retired Teachers Outstanding Community Service Award
May 21, 2003 - Received the Sons of the American Revolution Silver Good Citizenship Medal
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