Chenault Family National Association
MINUTES OF THE 69th ANNUAL REUNION
20-22 Jul 2018, Roanoke, Virginia
Registration for the 69th Annual Chenault Family National Association Reunion commenced at 1:00 p.m. Friday, July 20, 2018, at The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center in Roanoke, VA. The Hospitality Room opened providing informal visiting, as well as providing attendees an opportunity to examine various displays of family and reunion history, bid on silent auction items donated by attendees, and purchase souvenirs from the association.
At 1:30 p.m. those participating in the D-Day Memorial tour met in the hotel parking lot for the drive to the site of the memorial in Bedford, VA. Upon their return from the tour later in the afternoon, they were very complimentary of the memorial and pleased with the opportunity to visit it.
Friday Evening, July 20, 2018 —
The reception and get-acquainted session began at 7:00 p.m. with a call to order by President "Libby" Chenault. She welcomed attendees from near and far and made a few announcements about the weekend’s activities. In particular, she urged everyone to be available a few minutes prior to the dinner Saturday evening to allow time for the photographing of the group on the stairway outside the meeting area. Following the announcements, she asked Frank Thurman to lead the group in the reading of the Chenault Prayer, which appeared on the back of the reunion program.
President Chenault announced that, unfortunately, George and Carlisle McDonald, our local host and hostess, would be unable to attend since George had been hospitalized a few days before the reunion and was just released to rest at home. She called on Jean Chenault Logue to lead the introductions and photographing of the individual family groups in attendance.
Following the family group introductions, President Chenault delivered a reading of a statement of welcome that is often used by Coventry Church in England. She then opened the floor to any updates or comments from attendees. Historian Sue Chenault advised that recent information had come to her that led to the updating of the Fallen Officer Honor Roll presented in 2017 in Berea. Actually, five descendants have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty, including Elijah Chenault, who was the first law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty in the United States. She briefly gave information about each of the additional four. She also invited attendees to view the displays of two new collections of memorabilia, one of photos of cemetery markers that features the marker of Gen. Claire Chennault in Arlington Memorial Cemetery, and the other a collection so old family photos.
President Chenault adjourned the session and encouraged everyone to enjoy the hospitality time to visit and get acquainted with each other.
Saturday Morning Annual Business Meeting, July 21, 2018 —
President Libby Chenault called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone. She then read "A National Prayer" by Steve Garnaas-Holmes. Her first order of business was to have Secretary Sue Chenault present the minutes of the 2017 business meeting. Since the minutes had been posted on the website and copies were included in the registration packets, they were not read. Sue asked for any changes or additions, and when none were requested, a motion to accept them was made and passed approving the minutes.
Treasurer Donna Chenault Mellick deferred to her husband, Gus Mellick, to present the financial report when President Chenault requested it. Gus explained the reporting period now covers a fiscal year from April1-March 30 of each reporting year to stabilize the income/outgo of finances. A motion to accept the report as presented was made and passed. Gus updated attendees on the effort to receive a tax-exempt status for the organization before next year, and also reported on his pursuit of the legal copyright for the Redbook to prevent mis-use of information in the book.
Following the routine reporting of other committees, President Libby Chenault turned the floor over to First-Vice President Larkin Chenault who led a discussion on several topics. He led a discussion of the future of reunions, where we are and where we are going, and the inauguration of a process to handle suggestions that will help the association grow. He said he envisions this will include investigating sites for meetings, leadership development and a succession plan, the strengthening of membership, improvements in communications and publications, potential changes to processes and procedures of the association, and assessment of resources. Committees were discussed, and it was pointed out that only the Nominating Committee members are elected by the attendee body, while the other committees are appointed by the President. Attendees voiced the need to strive toward having committee members representative of all family lines. Following a discussion regarding the direction of future programs, it was agreed that equal emphasis needs to be given to programs that both entertain attendees and educate and preserve our heritage as emphasized in our association’s mission.
VP Larkin then announced that a request had been received before the reunion concerning the 2019 reunion site. A member, H. F. Chenault, of Memphis, suggested the reunion be held in Hot Springs, AR, and indicated that he and his family would work to make it an enjoyable experience. After discussion, a motion was made and passed to select Hot Springs as the site for 2019.
The Nominating Committee Co-Chairs, Luisa deVarona Chenault and Susan Thurman, recommended a slate of officers for 2018-2019 as follows: Larkin Chenault, President; Charles Mellick, 1st VP; Gus Mellick, Treasurer; and Sue Chenault, Secretary/Historian. A motion to accept the recommendation was made and passed. A motion was also made to keep the two co-chairs in place and add a third person, Margaret Stockton, to the Nominating Committee was passed.
President Libby Chenault asked for any other new business and when none came forward, she adjourned the meeting, reminding everyone to come a little early to dinner for picture taking.
Annual Banquet and Installation of Officers, Saturday Dinner, July 21, 2018 —
Following a photo session on the stairs outside the meeting room, President Libby Chenault called the session to order and asked Sue Chenault to deliver a prayer of thanks. After dinner, President Chenault introduced the Memorial Honor Roll portion of the program beginning with a volunteer group of "chimers" who played and sang "Amazing Grace." Charles Mellick read a poem, "Grieve Not" and a passage from Psalm 117. Barbara Chenault MacManus read the list of those honored pausing for chimes between each name mentioned. In closing, Margaret Stockton led the group in a responsive reading.
President Chenault introduced her first cousin, John Farmer, who delivered a special presentation to the attendees. First, he welcomed everyone home, since Virginia is where our ancestor began his family that has resulted in our being here. In preparing for his message to the group, he said he spent considerable time getting to know as much as he could about Estienne Cheneau. While some information is available in public records, much has to be gleaned from what life was like for the Huguenots, i.e., what led to their being refugees, the miserable conditions they endured on the ship to America, and even what their mothers must have felt about their leaving "home" for a new life. He asked why was it unnecessary to enter the names of women in the records, for we are as much descendants of theirs as Estienne’s. While he appropriately interjected humor into his talk, two very important points came through loud and clear. First, WE and the custodians of the legacy of Estienne, and this responsibility will pass on to our next generations. Second, the legacy of Estienne is one of faith and hope, which is what we need to leave our descendants.
The installation of officers was handled by Judge Jean Chenault Logue, chairperson of the Bylaws Committee, and the President’s plaque of appreciation was presented to President Libby Chenault by incoming President Larkin Chenault. The "bread basket" was passed, and the results of the silent auction were announced.
Following brief remarks by President Libby Chenault extending her appreciation to everyone for attending and supporting her during her tenure, President Larkin Chenault expressed his appreciation for the trust everyone was placing in him and the candor of everyone’s comments to him. He said he is proud of all lines of Chenaults and wants to ask everyone to pitch in and help make the organization one of service and fun. He then adjourned the 69th annual reunion.
Special Note: Subsequent to the reunion, the Executive Committee was informed that hotel accommodations for a reunion in 2019 in Hot Springs could not be arranged. Please note the explanation concerning a change in plans for the 2019 and 2020 reunions in the President’s Message to Association members.
Carolyn Sue Chenault,