Billie Trussell of the Sukey Hart Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution talks about the group’s work and recent effort to honor World War II veterans.
Q: What is your organization?
A: Our chapter, the Sukey Hart Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, is a non-political, nonprofit volunteer group of women over 18 of any race, religion or ethnic background who can show descent from a patriot of the American Revolution. We’re dedicated to historic preservation, education and patriotism.
Q: Lineage has to be documented? Can it be someone simply alive during the Revolution?
A: It has to be proven, yes, and they have to have served in the military or given aid in some way to the Revolution. They can’t just have lived then. They can have given aid by supplying food or goods or in quite a number of ways.
Q: Any idea what percentage of people today can come up with that sort of proof?
A: First, let me say we guide and help people research and find their heritage. That’s a wonderful part of this journey with many rewards and surprises along the way.
Q: And odds of qualifying?
A: Here’s the interesting thing: when you go back that far you’re going to find bout 128 family lines and that creates a tremendous chance of finding someone who rendered service or aid. Most were plain, ordinary people who did their part to secure freedom for us today.
Q: So the chapter isn’t a woman’s society for having tea and talking about everyone’s blue-blood heritage?
A: Not at all; not one bit. We’re interested in history and heritage but it’s not our main focus and, frankly, there’s not much blue blood. We’re a much more light-hearted group than that and focus more on service today than dwelling on our personal heritage. I want to stress that: we’re an active service organization. Our national theme this year is Moving Forward in Service to America.
Q: Can you outline some projects?
A: We were at the Andersonville National Historic Site several weekends ago placing wreaths as part of Wreaths Across America to honor America’s fallen heroes. We just dedicated two free, little libraries with books for children and adults at Walker’s Pond and the Tot Lot Park off Wellborn Road to promote literacy. We just presented a historic preservation award to the Warner Robins Fire Department for their efforts to preserved and create a museum at the 1959 fire station behind city hall. We collect American history essays in schools and promote Constitution Week. In February, we’ll promote Georgia Day. We’re giving awards to Junior ROTCs in Warner Robins high schools and in May give good citizen awards to high school seniors. We give community service awards and we’ve adopted a local soldier and his troop, the 48th Infantry Brigade, being deployed and, among other things, packed 70 snack bags for them.
Q: That’s more than sipping tea, right?
A: And there’s a lot more. We stay busy. Like we recognize businesses displaying the flag of the United States of America correctly and as far as our community awards go, we gave one recently to Brev Hunt, a true serving gentleman, former school principal, and I’d say the poster child of a caring community servant. He oversees the large food pantry ministry at Warner Robins First United Methodist Church.
Q: What about your December dinner honoring World War II veterans?
A: We were heartbroken when the Christmas parade had to be canceled due to weather where they were going to be honored as grand marshals. We came up with the idea to go ahead and honor them and their families at a dinner. The Warner Robins Heritage Society identified the veterans and the Burke Lasseter law firm stepped up and underwrote the dinner at the Greek Village Restaurant. We owe so much to these veterans, and to all our veterans and those who serve.
Q: How about your chapter name? Why Sukey Hart?
A: Sukey Hart was the daughter of patriot Nancy Hart — also known as the “War Woman” — and Sukey aided her and her father during the Revolution. One thing she did was carry messages about British troops to the local militia. This brings up the important point that your ancestor does not have to be male. There were many, many female patriots. I think it’s a wonderful stand for our chapter, which is 36 years old, to be named after a woman patriot, especially since we live in an Air Force community where men and women serve crucial roles side-by-side at Robins Air Force Base.
Q: How can people get more information?
A: Meeting and other information are at www.sukeyhart.georgiastatedar.org with more information at www.dar.org. You can email or call me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 478-953-9320. You can also call there for our brother organization, the Sons of the American Revolution.
Answers may have been edited for length and clarity. Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at email@example.com.