Saratoga Battle Chapter SAR
Saratoga Battle Chapter

2018 Annual Meeting and
Washington's Birthday Luncheon

Holiday Inn Express, Latham, NY

Submitted by: Douglas Gallant

All photos courtesy of Tom Dunne and Benjamin Gallant

It was good to see both new and returning compatriots again as the Chapter held its Annual Meeting and Washington's Birthday Luncheon on February 24th, 2018. The meeting was at a new location this year, the Holiday Inn Express in Latham, NY. The room was spacious and I received several positive comments regarding the food (sprinkled with a couple of suggestions for next year!)

Compatriots and Guests

Compatriots and Guests

It was a well attended meeting with over 40 individuals present. This included 5 new members and several honored guests. The guests were Shayla Cole, C.A.R. NY State President; Jean Cole, C.A.R. NY Senior State President; Priyanka Kumar, Chapter Knight Essay Contest winner; Amy Bracewell, Saratoga National Historical Park Superintendent; and Larry Arnold, Friends of Saratoga Battlefield.

Compatriots and Guests

Compatriots and Guests

The business meeting began with approval of the minutes from the prior meeting then moved on to the Treasurer's Report. Treasurer David Flint delivered the message that the Chapter remains on solid financial footing. Total net income for the reporting period was over $1,700. And the Chapter disbursed $1,000 in donations to various organizations including the Rensselaer County Veterans Fund, Fort Crailo Chapter DAR; Friends of NYS Military Museum, Wreaths Across America and the Schuyler and Bemis Heights Societies C.A.R.

Registrar Tom Dunne also delivered a positive report regarding current Chapter membership. Total membership is now at 203 after the annual dues cycle. Although that is down from 211 members at our September meeting, there are already 4 new member applications awaiting approval at National with another one going soon. Tom was commended for his continued excellent work in both member retention and assistance to prospective members. Chaplain Charlie Wheeler also took a moment to lead is in remembrance of compatriot John Tift Bailey who passed away in 2017.

Next we were able to greet and install 5 new members. Another fine looking bunch of compatriots!

L to R - Welcome new members James House, Thomas Gross, Kyle Dikeman, Sam Dikeman, Sr., William Moore

L to R - Welcome new members James House, Thomas Gross, Kyle Dikeman,
Sam Dikeman, Sr., William Moore

Only one item of new business was presented:

  • At the annual July 4th citizenship ceremony at Saratoga Battlefield, each new citizen is given a bag of small gift items with the contents provided by various organizations. The Chapter used to provide a copy of the Bill of Rights but US Customs and Immigration Services began supplying that a few years ago.

    It was decided that the Chapter would contribute an Empire State SAR pin and an engraved pen with the Chapter's name on it in each bag starting this year. Note that this is in addition to our continued contribution of both cookies and a singer to the event.

The program portion of the meeting was next. Our first speaker was Priyanka Kumar, the 2017 Chapter level winner of the Knight Essay Contest. Her essay was titled "When The World Turned Upside Down" and she presented it in full. The thesis was that "Cornwallis' campaign at Yorktown was doomed to be unsuccessful due to Cornwallis not being in direct control of his army, the lack of British soldiers and relief, and the natural environment and diseases during the battle." Those points were amply supported. Priyanka was presented with a cash prize, a certificate and a medal for her efforts.

Essay Contest winner Priyanka Kumar (center), her father Aseem Kumar (left) and President Douglas Gallant

Essay Contest winner Priyanka Kumar (center), her father Aseem Kumar (left) and President Douglas Gallant

C.A.R. State President Shayla Cole then did a presentation on her State project, "Honor Flight - A Flight of a Lifetime." Honor Flight's purpose is "We fly our heroes to Washington, DC to experience and reflect together at their memorials." The flight is free to any veteran that wishes to go. Their cost is paid via donations to the organization. Shayla's project is to raise funds which will be presented to Honor Flight at the C.A.R. State Convention in Albany on March 24th, 2018. The Chapter authorized a $500 donation to this project.

C.A.R. State President Shayla Cole

C.A.R. State President Shayla Cole

Next we heard from Friends of Saratoga Battlefield's Larry Arnold and Saratoga National Historical Park Superintendent Amy Bracewell regarding the current status of the Saratoga Surrender Site project. The site has been in private ownership until only a few years ago when the Friends, in conjunction with a couple of other organizations, were able to purchase the property. There is a vision and a plan to develop a suitable memorial park.

Additional information can be found on the Friends web site at They have raised $800K of the $1 Million required to start work.

The Chapter approved a $500 donation which will be matched by another donor.

The meeting adjourned until September 16th, 2018 at the Holiday Inn Saratoga.

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