Dear Friend of Lafayette,
The AFL has continued to thrive as we emerge from the worst pandemic in 100 years.
We discovered Zoom and used it for four programs in the last six months – “Lafayette as a Fictional Character,” Interview of Julien Icher, Interview of Mark Schneider, and “Taking a Ringside Seat on the Farewell Tour.” These programs, as well as the earlier “Character Matters: Perceptions of Lafayette and Lessons for our Time” are available for viewing on our website if you missed any of them. I want to congratulate Bonnie Fritz for the highly competent and professional way that she served as host and coordinator of these excellent programs.
I cannot pass up an opportunity to give a loud shout-out to our incredible Treasurer, Event-Planner extraordinaire, and COO of the AFL, Charles Schwam, aka Chuck. His indefatigable energy and competence have kept the AFL vibrant and relevant during these difficult times. With eleven articles in this Gazette, he has also become the AFL’s principal “staff” writer.
The AFL, with Chuck Schwam leading the charge, has ventured forth with three live events since March – Virginia Lafayette Day, French Cemetery cleanup day, and French Alliance Day at Valley Forge. Our annual meeting will be held in Virginia live with events in Gloucester, Yorktown, Williamsburg, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Portsmouth from June 10 to June 13.
Chuck is also spearheading perhaps the most important project that the AFL has ever undertaken – a 13-month series of programs to commemorate Lafayette’s Farewell Tour of 1824-25. Working with Julien Icher of The Lafayette Trail and a committee of over 100 members, we hope to promote and participate in events in most, if not all, of the cities and towns that Lafayette visited, in each case on the day exactly 200 years after his Farewell Tour visit.
With great admiration and respect, and with much regret on my part, I have finally allowed four of our most loyal and dedicated members to leave their long-time posts.
Phil and Barbara Schroeder have been the distributors of the Gazette for many, many years. As the Gazette’s size has expanded and membership has increased dramatically, their “back of the house” operation became a tremendous burden. Phil and Barb, please accept the AFL’s appreciation for all your hard work in seeing to it that our members have continued to receive their Gazettes all these years. As you can see from the last page of this issue, our new distributors are Dorothea and David Jensen and Sarah Gillens, three Granite Staters.
What can I say about our dedicated Membership Chairs Almut and Paul Spalding? They have managed our growing membership load for many years competently, efficiently, and skillfully. If the truth be known, Almut and Paul sought permission to be relieved of their duties over a year ago. However, I prevailed on them to gut it out for one more year, and they did, cheerfully and uncomplainingly. Thank you both so much. We welcome new Membership Chair Abbey Evans of Chesapeake, Virginia.
I will end this over-long missive with the content of the Spaldings’ last report. In the six months beginning on November 1, 2020, the AFL attracted 23 new individual memberships, 5 family memberships, and 1 student member. Assuming two persons per each family membership, except where one family identified four names, the grand total of new members is 36. Thus, in the eleven months since June 1, 2020, our new member total has been 71! I believe our social media presence – see article by Mackenzie Fowler, our Social Media Coordinator – and the vigorous schedule of AFL virtual and live events are the principal reasons for this steady growth. The current total of AFL members is 414, an all-time high!
Best regards, Alan R. Hoffman
Copyright The American Friends of Lafayette 2016"The American Friends of Lafayette" is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Mail correspondence to: 302 Hart Rd., Gaithersburg, MD 20878 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org