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  • Writer's pictureBeth Stenstrom

First Quarter Newsletter January 1 - March 31, 2022

Welcome to 2022

A new year is upon us and we are hopeful that we will be able to resume our special events throughout the year. It has been a long two years, due to the safety concerns relating to the COVID - 19 pandemic, but we are thinking positive and moving ahead with plans. Our organization has weathered the storm and has remained intact and healthy. We heartily welcome 2022!

Annual Meeting 2021

FoWB President Mark Leach

FoWB held our Annual Meeting on Saturday, November 13, 2021, at the Wilderness Baptist Church, on Plank Road in Fredericksburg, VA. We had a nice turnout of 49 people, and we enjoyed a delicious lunch catered by Bella Cucina in Locust Grove.

Members checked in upon arrival and received a lovely six pack cooler with the FoWB logo on it, plus they also could pick up an Ellwood Christmas ornament and a FoWB pen, along with the Annual Report.

At the business meeting, President Mark Leach announced that he is stepping down as president after seven years, and that he will remain on the board for another year to continue working on our new website. Members were treated to a sneak preview of the updated website, and we hope to take it live soon.

Mark thanked our volunteers who staffed Ellwood during the 2020 - 2021 Season, and advised that our interpreter staff is down by 50% due to pandemic issues. Those who worked really enjoyed it and plan to continue next year!

Director Jeff Slunt gave the Treasurer's Report and Director Pete Kolakowski presided over the election of the board.

Acting Deputy Director For Eastern Regional Operations of the National Park Service Kirsten Talken - Spaulding spoke to us about the role of volunteers in parks following the Covid 19 pandemic. Her words were encouraging and inspirational to us.

Photo Above: Acting Deputy Director For Eastern Regional Operations of the National Park Service Kirsten Talken - Spaulding. (She is also still the Superintendent for the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.)

New Heritage Program members Jeff and Leslie Spencer

Director Bob Epp presented new Heritage Program members Jeff and Leslie Spencer with their certificate and hat. He also recognized FoWB members who have been interpreters for 5 years and 10 years with special pins.

Special thanks to retiring board members Milbrey Bartholow, Bob Epp, and Dick Rankin. Milbrey and Dick have moved to the Richmond area, and Bob is planning to spend his time focusing on more research for the group. Welcome and congratulations to new board members Stephanie Bianchi, Joe Lafleur, and Greg Mertz. These folks will be great additions to our board. Also, thank you and congratulations to incumbent board members Suzanne Baxter, Ruth Pavlik, and Jeff Slunt! We are delighted you have agreed to serve for another term.

Delicious cakes by Wegmans

Lunch was a delicious selection of meat or vegetable lasagna, garlic bread, and salad, catered by Bella Cucina in Locust Grove. Chocolate and vanilla cakes from Wegmans were available for dessert in honor of recently retired Chief Historian of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park John Hennessy.

Director Bob Epp dressed as a "retiree"

Board members dressed as "retirees" to give John ideas about what he can do now that he has some free time!

John Hennessy was our speaker after lunch, and his presentation was both thought provoking and entertaining. We learned some interesting history and it left us eager to learn and explore more. We are truly grateful for John and intend to continue to spend time with him and have him speak at other events for us. In fact, we are working on a special dinner/speaker event on Saturday, May 7th. We are still working out the details, post covid style. It will be held at The Cove, in Fawn Lake.

We will keep you posted!

Thank You to everyone who came out for the Annual Meeting. It was so much fun to see you all. We are already looking forward to the Annual Meeting for 2022.

Our 2022 Board of Directors:

Suzanne Baxter, Stephanie Bianchi, Gary Close, Kevin Hunt, Pete Kolakowski, Joe Lafleur, Mark Leach, Bob Lookabill, Lynn McDonald, Greg Mertz, Ruth Pavlik, Daniel Sheron, Don Shockey, Jeff Slunt, and Beth Stenstrom.

Volunteers Welcome

Friends of Wilderness Battlefield is a volunteer-based, not for profit organization made up of a dedicated group of volunteers who enjoy preserving, protecting and promoting historical sites, the Wilderness Battlefield in particular. Do you know someone who would like to join us in our mission? Volunteers are welcome. We are looking for individuals who are willing to commit their time and expertise in interpreting the Wilderness Battlefield and/or maintaining the beautiful grounds surrounding Ellwood. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming an interpreter at Ellwood, please contact our Ellwood Chair, Don Shockey, at, and if you are interested in joining the Ground Force to maintain the grounds, please contact our Battlefield Resource Committee Chair Kevin Hunt, at,_We also welcome writers who would like to write articles for our History in Our Backyard series, and scholars, who enjoy researching historical documents. If you are an aspiring writer and enjoy writing about local history, please contact Mike Mikolosko at, and if you are interested in research, please contact Bob Epp at rober (Note: There is an underscore between rober and epp)

Holiday Cheer at Ellwood

Many thanks to the wonderful ladies in the Fawn Lake Lawn and Garden Club for coming out and decorating Ellwood for the holidays.

Even though we were not able to host Santa or have the crafts for the children this year, due to pandemic restrictions, the park graciously allowed us to have the house open from noon to 3:00 PM, December 11- 17, so visitors could come out and enjoy the beautiful decorations.

These ladies can definitely work some magic with their creativity and talent. Over 150 visitors came out and loved everything they did!

They are also a lot of fun to hang out with! Thank you all so much!

Save the Date

Dinner and Speaker

When? Saturday, May 7, 2022

Where? "The Cove", Fawn Lake's stunning new country club venue!

6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Featuring a talk by John Hennessy, retired Chief Historianfor the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and a nationally recognized expert on the Civil War.

More information coming soon....

Circle May 7 on your calendar now! You won't want to miss this wonderful evening event.

Upcoming Events:

We are hoping to have Park Day and some Living History events again this coming year, but we are unable to schedule anything major on park property right now due to pandemic restrictions. Please watch for events on our website and our facebook page!

First Quarter Jan 1 - Mar 31 2022
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