DAR sets Guinness World Record

EASLEY — To celebrate the National Society’s 125th anniversary and the culmination of the “Celebrate America” volunteer service initiative, the DAR channeled its fervor for patriotism and dedicated support of our nation’s military service members toward an ambitious goal.

During the week of the 125th Continental Congress, held in June at DAR’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, the organization set an official Guinness World Records title in patriotism for “most letters to military personnel collected in one month.”

DAR members possess an unwavering patriotic devotion that spans the organization’s 125-year history. During the past three years alone, Daughters have devoted more than 2.2 million hours of service to veterans, honored more than 288,000 Vietnam War veterans, and donated more than $250,000 in support of active duty service members and their families. The Guinness World Records attempt served as a test to see if the membership could exceed its already high standards of support for our military.

Achieving this ambitious goal required the National Society to collect and then mail at least 10,000 letters to active-duty service members. Daughters across the country rallied in support of the effort. Members of Fort Prince George Chapter in Easley contributed by collecting letters to add to the total. Many DAR members wrote personal messages, but because individuals could write only one letter each, they also enlisted help from their communities. Local DAR members obtained letters from local schoolchildren, coworkers, friends and families.

As dictated by the Guinness World Records guidelines, all letters had to be handwritten, addressed to an active duty service member, placed inside a stamped, unsealed envelope, and delivered in person to one of the designated stations set up at DAR Headquarters. Chapter members Anne Kilpatrick and Harriet Nash brought the chapter’s letters to Washington, D.C., and hand-delivered them to a collection station. Letters of appreciation filled more and more boxes as the week progressed, and an official Guinness World Records adjudicator arrived to conduct the verification process.

The carefully tallied total was revealed at the National Defense Night ceremony on Saturday, June 18. As thousands in attendance waited to learn the outcome of the attempt, members surprised them by carrying in box after box to give a visual representation of how many letters were submitted. Cheers increased as soon as the number topped 10,000, but then the audience, including the night’s special guests, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald and the USO President and CEO, Dr. J.D. Crouch, all went wild when the tally surpassed 100,000.

The DAR had collected 100,904 letters, more than 10 times the minimum threshold needed to set the record for most letters to military personnel collected in one month!

“Congratulations — you are officially amazing!” the adjudicator proclaimed.