Desert Gold Chapter, located in Farmington, has members from all over San Juan County. The history of San Juan County goes back to what is properly called prehistory. Ancestral Pueblo peoples lived in the area during the 11th to 13th centuries. They have left many ruins as evidence of their existence. Today, we can visit Salmon Ruins, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and other sites to get a taste of the lives of those early inhabitants.
Early Spanish visits to the area date from around the time of the American Revolution. Friars Francisco Atanasio Domínguez and Silvestre Vélez de Escalante were seeking a route between Santa Fe and the California missions. English speaking settlements did not occur to any great degree until 1876, when the area was opened for homesteading. About 1870, Farmingtown (later, Farmington) was established, and Aztec became an established community soon after.
Desert Gold Chapter was organized in February 1967 by Mrs. Edna Weinig with 14 charter members. Now we have over 80 members making Desert Gold the third largest chapter in New Mexico.
Desert Gold Chapter is strongly patriotic by supporting several projects for our veterans. Our latest activity was a monument for the Navajo Code Talkers. These were young Navajo men who used obscure languages as a means of secret communications on the battlefields of WWII. Code talkers transmitted these messages over military telephone or radio communications nets using formal or informally developed codes built upon their native languages. A 90 year old member makes lap quilts for the VA hospital and we collect comfort items. We serve lunch to veterans on Memorial Day and participate in honoring veterans at the All Veterans Memorial Park in Farmington. We support Henderson House, a transitional home for homeless women veterans and their children, located in Albuquerque. We donate clothes, toiletries, personal gifts at Christmas, as well as monetary contributions.
We hold an Awards Tea each year, recognizing the winners and participants of the DAR Good Citizens Essay Contest. Nine DAR Good Citizens awards are given to the nine different schools' top high school senior Good Citizen, along with a scholarship given to the highest scoring Good Citizen from the nine top seniors. We also support education through our National Defense committee, which presents Good Citizenship medals to a student in grades 5 through 11, who fulfill the qualities of honor, service, courage, leadership, and patriotism. Desert Gold Chapter donates to DAR Schools and American Indian schools, either through monetary means or the collection of soup labels and box tops for education.
We also have several Conservation Committee projects ongoing; we honor the Constitution through display cases at the local library and the distribution of literature; we hold genealogy workshops during the year; and our monthly meetings always provide an interesting speaker and program.
We are working very hard to fulfill the National Society’s mission to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism; and to follow our national motto: God, Home, and Country. Take a look at our web site; I hope you like what you see, and perhaps you qualify for membership in this wonderful service organization.