Abigail Phelps Chapter Regent, Julia Parker Post, opened the Nov. 10 ceremonies by sharing that “Each year the Abigail Phelps Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution works with schools and veterans organizations to select members of the community who demonstrate the qualities of dependability, service, leadership and patriotism. This year the chapter recognizes four high school students and a Navy Veteran.”
Karen DiMenna, who presented the DAR Good Citizen awards, said, “All four high school recipients are involved in sports, school government, church, and volunteerism, but each has a special story of their own.” In 2014, Ann Hayes, now a senior at Avon High School, along with friends, collected over 1,000 sweatshirts and donated them to Gifts of Love. The friends then turned the collection into an annual drive called One For Everyone which donates clothing and books for the homeless.
The chapter has recognized Jade Kiang, from East Granby Memorial High School, previously. While in the eighth grade she won first place at the Chapter and State level for her American History essay, A Colonial Family’s Reaction to the Stamp Act. This is not the only citizenship award for Lindsay Gilton from Granby Memorial High School; the State of Connecticut has recognized her as well. Sarah Ackels, from Simsbury High School, has been running her own charity, Sarah Stops Hunger, for five years and has raised over $30,000 to combat hunger.
Deborah Payne, chairman of the Service for Veterans Committee, presented Raymond Jennings with the Abigail Phelps Chapter Outstanding Veteran Volunteer Award. Jennings, a Simsbury resident, is a Navy veteran with a distinguished military career. By chance, he recently discovered that he is a descendent of Abigail Phelps. Payne said of him, “Mr. Jennings is a veteran who exemplifies what it means to be an outstanding citizen, volunteer and community leader. He is an excellent role model for the students here today.” Jennings spoke about the importance of four life lessons. First, do the little things right and the big things will happen. Second, don’t quit when things get tough. Three, don’t shy away from taking on challenges. Lastly, think on your feet. He shared examples from his life experiences to illustrate each point. Good advice for all of us at any age.