By Jim Buelow, F319134
The Dogwood chapter was formed by Steve and Judy Czarsty in June 1996 at a seafood festival in Portsmouth, Virginia. Many festival attendees were FMCA members but not involved with a local chapter, so they established a new one and named it Dogwood. (The flowering dogwood is Virginia’s state flower and state tree.) The chapter has been going strong ever since.
Members gathered June 3-5, 2016, at Rockahock Campground in Lanexa, Virginia, to celebrate the chapter’s 20th anniversary. Rally hosts were the Buelow, Cummings, Hicks, and Sohles families. Total attendance was 69, which included Bill Mallory, national vice president, Eastern Area, and his wife, Garnetta; as well as Eastern Area Motorhome Association officers Jerry Cohen and his wife, Millie, and Berkley Alexander and his wife, Karen.
As people arrived they received goody bags, which included special 20th anniversary Dogwood pins. Friday’s social hour included a presentation and raffle by Danielle McMillan from Pilot Flying J, who briefed the group on the company’s plans to serve the RV community. Before dinner, the 20th anniversary Dogwood banner was unveiled. After dinner we were entertained by our own Donald Warthan and the Heritage Band.
At Saturday’s business meeting, officers for 2017-2018 were nominated. A social hour, group picture, and dinner followed later in the day.
After dinner, Dogwood president Buck Buchanan emceed a program commemorating the chapter’s 20th anniversary. Steve and Judy Czarsty were presented with a Dogwood certificate, founding member pins, and charter member pins. Charter member pins also were presented to Bob and Carol Chuilli, Max and Barbara Hicks, Ed and Connie Tilman, Don and Carol Warthan, and Amelia Wynne. Bill Mallory presented the 20th anniversary certificate from FMCA. The program highlight was a 16-minute video produced by Paul Cummings that drew lots of oohs, ahhs, laughs, and applause. It included pictures, documents, and comments covering the Dogwood chapter from its inception to the present.
The Sohles oversaw a raffle with prizes that included a Dogwood afghan handcrafted by Susan Buelow and a Dogwood-themed cross-stitch and Dogwood centerpieces made by Nancy Cummings.
Most of the Dogwood chapter’s 46 member families are from Virginia, but some reside in West Virginia, Maryland, and Florida. The chapter organizes five to seven rallies a year in Virginia and surrounding states, and many members attend and participate in FMCA area rallies and international conventions. Fun, food, and friendship are always abundant, and newcomers are welcome. For information, visit www.fmcadogwood.blogspot.com.