The first couple of times she was approached about becoming regent, which is another name for the chapter president, she declined.
Then she found her grandmother’s ex-regent’s pin.
“The only way I could wear that was to become a regent,” she said. “You can’t wear an ex-regent pin unless you’re a regent.”
Each member, she explained, wears a ribbon and pins commemorating various accomplishments and bars for ancestors who served in the American Revolution.
Parks recently received a special pin for being chosen Outstanding Chapter Regent at the 115th state conference of the Georgia State Society of the DAR. She served as regent from 2010-2012. Current regents are ineligible for the award, she said.
Parks is only the second regent from the Augusta chapter to have won in the chapter’s 121-year history, said current regent Daphne Hopson.
“She taught me everything I know,” Hopson said. “A lot of ideas I use today have come because of Nancy.”
Parks, a member of the DAR since 1988, had been assembling the chapter’s yearbooks for about 10 years before she took office in 2010.
Because that gave her insight into much of the chapter’s inner workings, she felt she was able to analyze what was needed to make the chapter run more effectively.
She noticed that most of the work was being done by a handful of people. So she made it a point to get to know her members through such mechanisms as member spotlights in the newsletter she created, and she began interviewing new members as they joined.
She began learning where members’ strengths were and placed them in positions to use them. Then she recognized them for their work in her newsletter.
She found that members who had not previously been active became more interesting in participating, and that all of the chapter members worked together to make the chapter outstanding.
“I feel like this is more of a chapter accomplishment and I happened to be in charge,” she said.
Under her leadership, the chapter’s membership grew 6.3 percent her first year and 14.8 percent the second year.
Junior membership – members between the ages of 18 and 40 – increased by more than 77 percent.
“She just brought new life to our chapter,” Hopson said. “We were so proud of her.”