As I talk and correspond with conservatives around the country, there is a prevailing sense of isolation and reluctant despair. The left-leaning media machine in this country paints conservatives as a tiny minority of poor confused individuals who lack a connection with reality. Or worse, we are painted as hate groups or enemies of the state. It’s intriguing to me that the media is always in the just the right place at just the right time to catch the most trivial of stories, but they never seem to cover events like the FHA’s October 15 “STAND” banquet. In the short span of two hours, this event shattered both stereotypes I just mentioned. One glance around the banquet hall left you with the overwhelming sense that we are not alone and that the folks who stand with us are truly the “A-Team”. As the evening progressed, a calm resolved and compassionate message emerged from the stage. Our executive director, Dale Bartscher spoke briefly of where we have been as an organization and optimistically of where we are headed. Our keynote speaker, Focus on the Family’s president, Jim Daly presented a powerful message charged with the challenges ahead and the compassion we are to have toward those in our culture with worldviews that differ from ours.
The Rapid City Civic Center’s LaCroix hall provided the perfect venue for an evening with the FHA and Jim Daly. 530 passionate defenders of faith, family, and freedom gathered for an awesome meal, and a fast paced two hour program. Pastor / State Representative Scott Craig was the evening’s emcee. Sara Frankenstein led the assembly in our National Anthem and Pastor Michael Brandt led the invocation. Beside presenting an overview of the Family Heritage Alliance, Executive Director Dale Bartscher also presented our three annual awards, assisted by our FHA Action Board Chair Dr. Patrick Clinch.
John Peter Muhlenberg, Pastor Leadership Award was presented to Sioux Falls Pastor Steve Hickey
Rosa Parks, Citizen Activist Award was presented to Linda Schauer, SD Concerned Women for America President
William Wilberforce, Elected Leadership Award was presented to Marty Jackley, SD Attorney General
As the evening drew to a close, Roger Gallimore, Family Heritage Alliance Board Chair, took to the stage to challenge those in attendance to partner financially with the FHA. Pastor John Dennis, our Communications Director led the benediction to officially bring the evening’s proceedings to a conclusion.
Due to the significant and long lasting impact of winter storm Atlas, our numbers were down some from last year, and still the amazing contribution provided exceeded last year’s. The FHA is poised to move strongly into 2014.
To Jim Daly and the amazing folks at Focus on the Family, the host of volunteers, the amazing table hosts, the Rapid City Civic Center’s staff, and everyone who took time out of their busy storm tossed lives (literally) to STAND with us, we extend our sincere and humble thanks!
By the way, eight influential friends of the Family Heritage Alliance recorded testimonials for us to compile and debut at the banquet. That video is provided below.