It all started with Elliott Levy, executive director of the Aiken County Historical Museum.
At one of the Henry Middleton Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution meetings, Levy had a piece of paper with the address of a young officer in Afghanistan who had volunteered time and service to the museum.
Elliott wanted to know if the chapter could help out with sending useful items from home. The note was passed on to Regent Judy Justice, who presented it at that meeting.
Every meeting is started with a ritual reciting that states: “To perpetuate the memory and spirit of men and women who achieved American independence, and to promote the development of an enlightened public opinion and to foster patriotic citizenship … these are the objects of our society, Daughters of the American Revolution.”
This was a perfect project for the Henry Middleton Chapter to take on, and D.A.R. Service for Veterans Committee Chairman Candy Moore and Vice Chair Brenda McCabe got the ball rolling.
At the last summer luncheon meeting prior to break, chapter members met at The Wilcox Inn to swear in new chaplain, Marian McCrosson, and to bring goodies to send to Capt. Benjamin J. Van Meter. Women that didn’t have items gave money for mailing.
The counter was piled high with bags of crew socks, snacks, single Crystal Light packets, current issues of magazines of all kinds men and women’s alike. Also included werebooks on word search and Sudoku, T-shirts, preserves and chocolates.
In June, Moore received a letter of thanks. One of the paragraphs says it all, and it read as follows:
“I just wanted to let you all know that we have a couple of individuals on my team that are from South Carolina. Sergeant First Class William A. Brisbane is from James Island and Sergeant First Class Caprest C. Rhone is from Walterboro. Both are good men and have been very excited by the things that the good folks of Aiken have been sending us. In fact, one of our commanding general is from South Carolina as well. His name is Major General James M. Richardson, and he is originally from Myrtle Beach. Finally, we also have a unit here from the South Carolina Army National Guard. All said, there are plenty of “Carolina Boys” around here doing great things.
“We especially appreciate anything that reminds us of home. In one of the boxes sent to me, it contained a South Carolina flag, handmade potters, T-shirts, preserves and chocolates. All my Soldiers and I were very excited by all of those items. So, if it represents, is made in, or reminds us of South Carolina, then we will most certainly enjoy it. Again, thank you so very much for keeping us in your thoughts.”
Benjamin J. Van Meter, Captain, U.S. Army
Van Meter, who has since been promoted to major and is now stationed in Baghdad, has been visiting Aiken since last week. The chapter is hosting a reception for him today at noon at the Aiken County Historical Museum.
Carolyn Hobbs Miller is registrar for the Henry Middleton Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution in Aiken.