Dear Friend of Lafayette,
I am writing this letter to support AFL member and friend Julien Icher in his quest to make The Lafayette Trail mapping program a reality on the ground in time for the bicentennial of Lafayette’s Farewell Tour in 2024. This quest – Phase Two of The Lafayette Trail project – is closely aligned with the AFL’s mission to honor and preserve the memory of the life and work of General Lafayette. AFL members have supported and fostered Phase One of The Lafayette Trail project both materially and spiritually. Chuck Schwam, Bonnie Fritz, Marilyn, and I have served as hosts to Julien during the period March 1 st to July 31 st , 2017 and from July, 2018 to date for substantial periods of time.
Moreover, AFL members including the Gillens in Plainfield, NH, the Jensens in Hopkinton, NH, the Suttons in Western Pennsylvania, John Becica in Easton, PA, the Parfitts in Fayetteville, NC, and the Ingrams in LaGrange, GA have hosted him as well. John Becica is to be strongly commended for his fundraising activities that made Julien’s 2018-2019 work a reality. It is fair to state that just as Lafayette was known as the Nation’s Guest during the Farewell Tour, Julien Icher’s sobriquet should be the AFL’s House Guest.
Chuck and I, in our capacities as both supervisors and hosts, have seen this outstanding young man mature as a person, a tireless worker, a traveler and an historian during both of his stays – 2017 when Julien traveled across and mapped the New England states and 2018-2019 when he did the same with the remaining states that Lafayette visited.
Julien is now embarking on Phase Two of The Lafayette Trail project. This phase will involve placing permanent signage in places that Lafayette visited during the Farewell Tour. He has enlisted a partner, the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, whose main raison d’être is placing signs in historic places. The Foundation has expressed interest in working with Julien throughout the Farewell Tour route beginning with the Empire State. One of the sites selected is Castle Garden, where Lafayette arrived on August 16, 1824.
In recent months, Julien has taken significant steps to accomplish the goals of Phase Two. He has formed a new organization, The Lafayette Trail, Inc, and he has created an impressive management team including Chuck Schwam, John Becica, Dorothea Jensen, and Dr. Richard Ingram. He has filed an application with the Internal Revenue Service for The Lafayette Trail, Inc to obtain 501(c)(3) charitable status.
As can be gleaned from the above, Chuck and I fully support Julien in his current endeavors. In some ways, we are sad to see this Young (French) Turk leave the nest, but we are awfully proud of him and the great work he has accomplished.
The AFL will, I am sure, continue to work closely with Julien during Phase Two of The Lafayette Trail project.
We respectfully request that you consider a gift to The Lafayette Trail, Inc. See Julien’s letter which is attached.
Alan R. Hoffman, President,
The American Friends of Lafayette