January 1, 2023

Gentlemen of our Society,

Happy New Year to all of you! I am also happy to report that The Sons of the Revolution in the Commonwealth of Virginia continues to be a strong and vibrant organization. We have emerged from two years of a pandemic and are active and growing as we head into our 131st year as a Society. I am pleased to report another successful year and that the state of our Society is solid.

When I wrote this letter ten years ago, the General Society had recently moved the headquarters to Colonial Williamsburg, we were awarded the new member award at the triennial held in Boston, we had a membership goal to break five hundred, and we  just completed our third Oyster Roast at Fort Pocahontas. And as I write this letter, our own Mark Jakobowski has negotiated a lease renewal on the headquarters in Williamsburg for another five years, Virginia again won the membership award at the 2022 Triennial in Boston, and our membership stands at (627) with a goal now of seven hundred. We are now the third largest SR Society in the nation, and we continue to provide leadership not only locally, but also within the General Society. The Virginia Society is indeed vibrant.

Your officers and Board of Managers have also completed two significant projects this Fall that will further advance our Society. The first was outsourcing our daily accounting activities to a professional third-party management firm. I am happy to report that as of today, that transition is complete. This move allows us to provide financial continuity and an accounting system robust enough to accommodate our large and growing organization.

The second project was a half-day planning session by current Board members and past-Presidents to review and reflect on our Society’s past, present and future, and envision what our organization can be moving forward. This exercise provided valuable insight into the direction the VSSR should be headed, use of our current resources, and what resources are needed to achieve our future goals. The session summarized that we are in a good place and are providing value to our members. My thanks go out to all those who participated and provided their input and honest assessments during this endeavor.

Our Society came out of COVID isolation with excitement and enthusiastically supported our social calendar. Our annual meeting in May was well attended by members and guests, and the Tuckahoe Women’s Club has become a very popular venue. Our “Boots, Blue Jeans, Barbecue and Bluegrass” event at the Deep Run Hunt Club was a tremendous success and is already on the calendar for 2023. Thanks to Huntley Galleher for supplying the Oysters and to whomever brought the fantastic weather. More oysters and good times were had at Wilton House in November when we again co-sponsored the event with the Colonial Dames. Lastly, Scott Bussells conducted another successful “Membership Smoker and Bourbon Tasting” at The Commonwealth Club. Scott’s and CL Sigmon’s efforts have gained us (37) new members for 2022, and we look forward to inducting them in February at the GWB (George Washington Birthday Dinner). All of these events allow us to introduce ourselves to new members, future prospects, and other SR brethren. More exciting, we are considering requests to increase our social calendar.

The two-hundred and ninety-first celebration of the birthday of the Father of our Country, George Washington, will be held on February 25th. First vice-president Mark Jakobowski has done an outstanding job planning this year’s event. Invitations will be going out tomorrow, and in case you have not heard; LtCol Oliver North, USMC (Ret.) will be our guest speaker. Mr. North will speak on the Virginia Riflemen and their actions during the Revolution with other comments on General Washington relating to our “mission.”  It is impressive that we can attract a national speaker of this caliber to attend our event.

Impressive is also a good description of our response to Sean O’Hara’s call for support of our Patriots Fund. As of year-end, we have received donations approaching our goal to support our Society’s philanthropic efforts. These monies will go to support the 1776 Project at the Library of Virginia; The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; and three education scholarships. It is the Patriots’ Fund, and it alone, that allows us to do all the good work with which we are charged.

As we do more and as more is expected of us, we need more dedicated men to serve on committees and on our Board of Managers. Those of you who have considered getting more involved in our Society, now is the time. If you are so inclined or know someone whose talents need to be put to use, past-president Dr. John Daniel heads up our Nominating Committee so please reach out to him with your support and/or any suggestions.

In closing, let me remind everyone that this is your Society. In order to fulfill our purpose of honoring those who fought for the ideals of freedom and independence, we need your involvement and participation. Please find a way, however you are able, to advance our cause by being an active member.

And lastly, please accept this as my thank you to the Board of Managers, our officers and to each of you for allowing me the honor to serve as your President.

Matson L. Roberts, PE