State honors Geneseo DAR chapter

Lisa Depies
Mary Gustafson, right, regent of the Geneseo Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, accepts a 2008 Centennial Award from Illinois State Historical Society president John Weck. The chapter was chartered in 1899.

When Ella Taylor chartered the Geneseo Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1899, she created a service organization dedicated to patriotism.

More than a century later, the chapter  continues its devotion to patriotism. For its longevity and service to the community, The Geneseo chapter recently was honored by the Illinois State Historical Society.

On Sept. 13, DAR Geneseo regent Mary Gustafson and member Joyce Will attended  the historical society’s Centennial?Awards Reception at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield.

The Centennial Awards are designed to honor Illinois organizations or businesses that have been in existence for more than 100 years.

“I think the honor shows that Ella Taylor’s vision is still vital today,” said Gustafson, adding chapter members felt “honored and privileged” to receive the award.

The Daughters of the American Revolution is a national organization dedicated to supporting patriotism, education and cultural heritage. It’s a non-profit women’s organization for the descendants of individuals who aided in achieving American independence.

The Geneseo chapter is one of 110 Illinois chapters. Locally, the organization has 74 members, including members of the former Cambridge chapter, which joined with the Geneseo group in 2001.

As part of its service to the community, the Geneseo chapter awards a scholarship to a graduating senior at Geneseo High School. The group also sponsors an American history essay contest for students in fifth through eighth grades and presents Good Citizenship medals to an eighth-grade boy and girl at each of three area middle schools.

“We do projects for our veterans and our men and women in the service, as well as conservation projects, historic markings and patriotic awareness,” said Gustafson.

The local chapter meets monthly, except during the summer.

The Daughters of the American Revolution Geneseo Chapter is the fourth Geneseo organization to earn the historical society’s Centennial Award.

Previous honorees include Central Bank, the Geneseo Republic, Hanford Insurance Agency and The Farmers National Bank of Geneseo.