The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in St. George organized a donation drive last month for school and personal hygiene products, water and food for the students of Navajo Mountain High School, one of the most remote high schools in the continental United States. With the success of the first donation, Susan Dransfield, Regent, and Kim Clark, American Indian Chapter Chair, of the St. George Chapter of the DAR organized a second donation drive as part of the National DAR Day of Service. On October 20, two loads of food, clothing, coats and blankets were delivered to the community of Navajo Mountain on October 20.
The Daughters of the American Revolution celebrate the anniversary of the organization each year on October 11, by participating in the National DAR Day of Service. Each chapter chooses a community service project in honor of the organization’s commitment to service to America for more than 125 years. This year the Color Country Chapter of the DAR decided to donate food, blankets, clothing, shoes and coats to the community of Naatsis’aan, or Navajo Mountain.
Donations came in from DAR members and other organizations in the St. George area and also from members of DAR chapters in other parts of the country. After seeing the article in the Lake Powell Chronicle about the donation of school supplies, a DAR member from Pasadena, California contacted Clark and wanted to make a donation. Clark met with Grace Van Orden and her husband, Ron, at their part-time residence in Page. Van Orden is a member of the Martin Severance Chapter of the DAR and was thrilled to know there was a DAR chapter represented in Page and donated to the drive.
Clark and her husband, a Husband of a Daughter of the Revolution, or ‘HODAR’, picked up the donations from St. George. One of the first donations was from St. George chapter of the National Society of the Colonial Dames, a service organization composed of women who are descended from an ancestor “who came to reside in an American Colony before 1776, and whose services were rendered during the Colonial Period.” The Colonial Dames donated around $200 in non-perishable food.
The Ridge Community Friends, a neighborhood organization in St George, donated 13 cases of food and 30 bags of clothing, coats and blankets. Reading about the previous donation, Paul Clark and Ariana Edie donated clothing from Colorado.
The first load filled a medium sized pickup bed to the camper shell ceiling. The second load filled a medium sized SUV, including the front passenger’s seat. The two vehicles drove together to the school. Among the generous donations were 63 cases of non-perishable food, 76 kitchen size bags of clothing, coats and blankets, two small heaters and an electric pencil sharpener.
The skies, calm and blue, shone on a landscape that had changed noticeably in a month and a half. The green grasses and wildflowers had changed to their fall colors awaiting the coming of winter. Each trip to Naatsis’aan revealed new things along the way: mile and kilometer markers along the road; a water storage tank with a mural on it; another canyon that hadn’t been noticed before; a view of Navajo Mountain without clouds, towering majestically over southern Utah and the four corners region. We knew from the last trip that the town was near the base of the much smaller peak at the base of Navajo Mountain, labeled as “Navajo Begay” on Google Earth. As we started the drive, Navajo Begay seemed so small and far away. Two hours later, arriving at the school, what seemed a tiny peak towered over the community, showing off slopes of many colors.
On the way, we filled our fuel tanks at the now modern gas station at Crossroads, the turn off from AZ 98 to the Navajo Mountain road. Stopping for fuel and a cold drink, Clark noticed that the old store has recently burned to the ground. Each side of the building had been covered with murals. Many will miss seeing the outdoor art. According to a store employee, no one knows for sure, but it burned down in the middle of the night, about a month ago, probably due to a fire that a person might have lit inside the building to keep warm.
It seemed like a shorter drive this time since we now knew where the high school was located. We met Mr. Rock at the school, who organized students to help unload. A group of students appeared at the front doors and emptied both vehicles onto the school’s auditorium stage. After unloading, some of the children laid down on the bags of clothing and blankets, enjoying the softness. Others asked if they could take home some Spam. One girl wrapped herself in a blanket that looked like a quilt. It was obvious that these items were appreciated and needed.
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to preserve the memory and spirit of those who contributed to securing American independence. Any woman 18 years or older who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible for membership.
In applying for DAR membership, women must document their lineage back to an ancestor who aided the cause of American independence. The ancestor’s efforts include serving in the military, civil or patriotic service and must occur during the period between 19 April 1775 (Battle of Lexington) and 26 November 1783 (withdrawal of British Troops from New York).
Susan Dransfield, Regent of the St. George Chapter said “Yes everyone has been very generous to the point it is overwhelming! We have wonderful women in our organization that are full of compassion.” She was surprised and glad that the donations fit in two vehicles. The generosity has been overwhelming. While this community received help, many others could also use support for basic necessities, most of which many people take for granted.
Cash donations continue to arrive for the Regent’s Project and will be used to buy firewood for elderly Native Americans in southern Utah. To contribute to the firewood fund, please email email@example.com and put “DAR Firewood” in the subject line.
For information about joining the DAR, contact a nearby chapter by visiting www.dar.org. For more information about the St. George chapter, contact Kim Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “DAR” in the subject line.