King's Daughters Organization


the Past, Present, & Future of KDO

Reflections of Past President - Sue Shevlin

~Sue Shevlin’s Presidency in Review~

I was very honored when Donna Jean Gibney came to my house to ask me to consider joining the Executive Board as First Vice President, in February of 2008.  Having served on the Organizational Planning Committee and helping to write the By-Laws and Standing Rules, I knew this was a five-year commitment. I was privileged to watch Donna Jean lead KDO through the changes from KD Home to KDO Organization.  Her leadership made the transition so seamless, I was in awe of her skills.  How could I tell Donna Jean ‘no’ to joining the Executive Board?  Well, I couldn’t.  I served as First Vice President to Cathy Schwartz, who brought so much energy and vitality to the Presidency.  I learned so much serving with her, as we worked to implement the changes as we transitioned from the Home to KDO.  Cathy passed the gavel to me on May 10, 2010 at the 117th Annual Meeting.  I had the opportunity serve with some amazing women, Teresa McElwee served as First Vice President and she, Cathy Schwartz and Donna Jean Gibney were the ones I confided in as things came up during my term.  

It was during the summer of 2010, KDO decided to create a cookbook to help raise additional funds to help us serve our mission.  A committee was formed, with Katie Marinelli (MHB) and Cathy Schwartz (MHB), serving as co-chairs, along with Barbara Archer (MAL), Diana Dedrick (PR), Suzie Duff (MHB), Posy Flatt (MG), Donna Freeman (GD), Lisa Metzger (MG), and Brenda Staab (MHB). They did a feasibility study with projections of costs and projected revenues.  The KDO Board voted unanimously to go forward with the project. By the end of the 2010-2011 fiscal year, we had collected five hundred recipes.  All members were encouraged to test and evaluate recipes.  Many of the Executive Board meetings included testing of recipes for the cookbook.  Members ate well, for the most part, for the next year as testing continued.  It was in April of 2012, that KDO hosted the “Dining with Daughters” Gala.  The Cookbook Committee had collected, tested, retested, recruited testers, written, rewritten recipes for well over a year.  This Committee met once or twice a week for over a year.  They were very dedicated to this project.  The Gala was a success, with about 120 people in attendance. Together this Committee created a cookbook we are all very proud of.

In September 2010, KDO received the Atta Girl Award from the Women for Women Fund at CFLL - the first organization to be recognized in this way. What an honor this was for King’s Daughters to be recognized by another Women’s Organization. 

We held four memberships drives during my two years, two in the fall and two in the spring.  Friendships were made within KDO and we also took in a few new members.  All membership drives featured appetizer recipes being tested for the cookbook.

During Cathy Schwartz’s Presidency we discovered the KDO had plots at Oak Ridge Cemetery, which were purchased for residents of the King’s Daughters Home as they passed.  We had been working with the cemetery administrators to locate our plots, but it wasn’t until the fall of 2010 that we received any information.  We discovered we had 13 remaining plots, but only 11 were usable. King’s Daughters paid for perpetual there care and that included care of the King’s Daughters Flower Urn.  None of the remaining KD Ladies had any interested in using the remaining plots, so an agreement was reached with Oak Ridge to allow use of the plots for persons 55 years of age or older, who are classified as “Working Poor”.  If you drive out to Oak Ridge, you can locate our Urn that has purple and gold flowers planted in it, it is in view on the Lincoln Memorial.

In January of 2012, Sandra Douglass, from Greater All Nation Health Ministry, nominated KDO for an NAACP award.  On February 11th, Teresa McElwee accepted the 2012 Civic Organization Award, on behalf of KDO.  Cindy Denby remarked that in her experience with non-profits, receiving a Civic Award was “huge”.  This was such an honor for KDO.  The Atta Girl Award and the 2012 Civic Organization Award are on display at CFLL.

KDO was fortunate to have two attorneys working for us.  Pat Sheehan was called upon to work out a problem KDO was having with the Enos Trust. For about a year we did not receive any funds from the Trust, so Pat went to work to get that problem sorted out.  In the fall of 2011, a letter was sent to KDO informing us of some mineral interests that had been bequeathed to King’s Daughters.  The letter had been mailed many years prior to us receiving it, but finally landed on a desk at CFLL.  That letter was taken to Pat Sheehan, so he could investigate and follow up with the people in Kansas.  The outcome of both endeavors has been very profitable for KDO.   

The other attorney working for us was Roland Cross, son of Pat Cross (PR). Roland worked at securing legal registration of our KDO logo. It was reported by Mary Lou Booker (GD) that Eldon Stromberg designed our logo many years ago.  He worked for Communigraph and coined the term “Circle of Friends”.  He did not want any compensation, but Mr. Cross suggested for legal purposes, we pay Mr. Stromberg $10. At that point all the paper work had been submitted for the copyright.  In March of 2012, the KDO logo was officially copyrighted.

When I became President in May of 2010, two of my goals were to increase our membership and our endowment.  With the help of hard working Circle Officers and a hard working Executive Board, we were able to host four reasonably successful membership events.  We took in 57 new members, while I was President.  The Endowment increased with the help of two very successful Progress Circle Benefits.  The Benefit’s contribution to the Endowment fund for the two years I served totaled just over $51,000.00. On May 14, 2012, I passed the gavel onto Teresa McElwee knowing that the future was bright for the KDO Endowment Fund with the mineral rights and cookbook money helping to grow our fund.  The most valuable thing I learned while serving was that the success of KDO never just rests on the President, the First Vice President, the Executive Board, the Directors or the Circle Leaders.  The success of KDO is built upon its members, our volunteerism and how we continue looking for ways to improve the lives of seniors in our community.  I can look back and still be humbled at having served with such an amazing group of women.  It has been my pleasure to serve KDO and I will continue to do so.


The fine KDO Executive Officers I was privileged to serve with are:

Teresa McElwee (MG) as First Vice President, Maryann Walker (F) as Second Vice President, Donna Freeman (GD) as Secretary 2010-2011, Susan Beard (MP/N) as Secretary 2011-2012, Lisa Metzger (MG) as Assistant Secretary 2010-2011, Sally Cadagin (MG) as Assistant Secretary 2011-2012, Brenda Staab (MHB) as Treasurer 2010-2011, Susan Fulks (PR) as Assistant Treasurer then as Treasurer 2010-2012 and Barbara McKean (MAL) as Assistant Treasurer 2011-2012.

Jennifer Sylvia