Brothers of the Department of the Chesapeake, friends, and guest.
I am both overwhelmed and honored that you have chosen to elect me to the post of Department Commander. My journey to this moment began many years ago when; I applied to join the Department of Maryland’s Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Camp in Roanoke, Va. However it was my transfer to the forming Taylor-Wilson Camp in Lynchburg that really sparked my interest and involvement in the Sons of Union Veterans.
At my first meeting with the Taylor-Wilson Camp, I meet the man who has been an inspiration, friend, mentor, and father figure to me, Dr. Clifton Potter. Clif had a passion for the SUVCW and he instiled that passion within me. Unable to go to the Department Encampment, Clif offered me the opportunity to attend as the Taylor-Wilson delegate. I was unsure and had no idea of what a delegate to the encampment was supposed to do, wet behind the ears, but it was at this encampment that, I first meet Mike Paquette; Gene Mortorff, Keith Young, Andy Johnson and many other amazing brothers who greeted me befriended me, counseled me, and educated me in the order
My head spun in the rush of events that unfolded and at the end of the encampment, I found myself a delegate to the National Encampment in Harrisburg, PA. To say the least things were happening quickly, but my father always said that the best way to learn a thing was to just jump in, so that is what I decided to do. I was in Harrisburg that Steve Hammond took me under tow and saw that I learned the ropes of the national encampment, successfully found the Saturday banquet, and gave me one of the most interesting rides of my life through the streets of Harrisburg.
In the years following that first encampment, I just tried to be true to the examples of personal conduct inculcated in our SUVCW motto: Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty. For these had been the characteristics shown to me by each of the brothers who mentored and befriended me.
So, now I stand here before the delegates of my eighth department encampment, elected to the post of Department Commander. I am humbled by the confidence that you have shown in my ability to move our department forward in the next year and I am ready to serve both you and your camps in anyway and at any time. I look forward to sharing in your ceremonies and meetings, I look forward to meeting those of you I have not had the opportunity to meet before, and I look forward to working with you to ensure a successful and a bright future for the Department of the Chesapeake.
Brothers if we are faithful to the words fraternity, charity, and loyalty, we will always be true to our purpose to honor the memory of our ancestors and to preserve the history of our great nation.
May god grant you safe travel as you leave this place, May God grant us the spirit to preserver in our cause, and May God grant his grace and peace to our homeland the United States of America.