Napa Daughters of the American Revolution Celebrate 50 Years of Community Service
Years ago, Highway 29 was a pedestrian path the Indians used to get from one end of the valley to the other. When the idea of a bike/hike path connecting Vallejo to Calistoga was being considered, County Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht saw it as a return to that original path. “We are here to connect towns and villages,” he said.
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), a non-profit service organization, is a group of women who share a love of genealogy and serve the community through education, preservation of historical monuments and serving our veterans. They meet once a month hosting speakers from the community.
“To become a member of DAR, you have to prove your linage back to the revolutionary war and many members get involved based on an interest in genealogy,” explained Carol Cavagnaro, Regent (President) of the Vineyard Trails Chapter in Napa. “And getting into the DAR is no easy feat, it’s an honor!” exclaimed Cavagnaro.
“You have to enjoy the process of research, and once you start, it’s like CSI researching your family history, and you can spend hours at it!”
After Cavagnaro retired, she began to explore her family history and discovered she was indeed connected to the Revolutionary War. Being accepted into DAR validated all of her dedicated research, and this is important to her and her family. “This documented research leads you into a chapter,” she explained.
Barbara Allen serves as Past Regent/Advisor to Regent Cavagnaro. Beginning at the local Genealogy Society, she researched her family history and solved a lot of questions about both sides of her family. Today her daughters and her granddaughters both proudly serve in DAR.
Community Service Projects
Wreaths Across America
The local DAR participates with Rough Riders Motorcycle Club in Fairfield. On Saturday, December 16, at an event open to the public, 1,500 wreaths will be placed on the graves of veterans buried at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville. At the 2016 event, the local DAR was asked to lay the wreath at the grave of Medal of Honor recipient, Julius H. Stickoffer. Members also participate in a national program of sending gifts and cards to veterans throughout the year.
American History Essay Contest
Elementary school children in grades 5 through 8 receive awards for winning American History Essays. The contest was established to encourage young people to think creatively about our nation’s history and to learn about history in a new light. Each year a topic is announced, then contest instructions are published online and sent to schools by participating DAR chapters. Essays are judged for historical accuracy, adherence to the topic, organization of materials, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and neatness. Students compete for awards and medals at the chapter, state, and national levels.
Annual Good Citizen Scholarship Awards
Young good citizens are also recognized by the DAR. Applications are sent to schools in Napa and Sonoma Counties and selected students must write an essay on citizenship. It is tough to write an essay in three hours with no books as reference. Each year a high school senior wins a $500 scholarship award. This contest encourages and rewards the qualities of good citizenship. The program is open to all senior class students enrolled in accredited public or private secondary schools.
The Pathway Home Program
The Pathway Home is a recovery program for veterans, as well as a service dog project with fundraising, donations and support. Recently Fred Guzman, Head of Pathways was awarded the Good Citizenship Award.
Veterans Home Library Project
The DAR also supports the library at the Veterans Home of California. Each year DAR meets with the head librarian of the Yountville Veterans Home who advises on what the library can use and what is needed, then the DAR works to provide it.
Service Projects from Older Members
Older members make blankets and present them once a year to veterans. Some women knit endlessly and make helmet liners for soldiers, while some even collect coupons and recycle bottles to raise money. Others serve at The Table once a year and distribute homemade brownies. The Veterans Home Gifts will be presented at the December DAR meeting with guest speaker, Jennifer Allen, Librarian at the Veterans Home of California.
Local DAR History
The Napa Chapter of the DAR was founded in 1968 by 13 local members: Laura Barry, Barbara Corotto, Melissa Fryer, Virginia Mayo, Joanne Smith, Margaret Stapleton, Marion Bounsall, Lois Enholm, Helene Kincaid, Audrey Sanner, Frances Stansfield, Alice Tollefson, and Frances Wolf. Today there are about 90 members.
The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. Membersare descendants of the patriots who won American independence during the Revolutionary War. With 185,000 members, in 3,000 chapters worldwide, the DAR is one of the world’s largest and most active service organizations.
DAR members volunteer millions of service hours annually in their local communities, including supporting active duty military personnel and assisting veteran patients, awarding thousands of dollars in scholarships and financial aid each year to students, and supporting schools for underserved children with annual donations exceeding one million dollars.
Any woman eighteen years or older, of any race, religion, or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible for membership. For more information about this amazing service organization, visit VTNapa.CaliforniaDAR.org