The AFL’s Important Partnerships
by Chuck Schwam, originally featured in The Gazette of the American Friends of Lafayette No. 96 Part II May 2022.
As many of you know, The American Friends of Lafayette is not the only “game in town.” There are other organizations that celebrate the legacy of Lafayette as well. Two of these organizations have become wonderful partners with our national efforts. The Lafayette Alliance was founded by AFL member Dr. Richard Ingram of LaGrange, Georgia in 2017. The Lafayette Society of Fayetteville, North Carolina was founded by Ms. Martha Duell in 1981. AFL Vice President, Dr. Hank Parfitt was president of the Lafayette Society for the past many years, but recently passed the baton to the very capable Bud Lafferty (also an AFL member).
The American Friends of Lafayette held their annual meeting in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 2014. The Lafayette Society did a magnificent job hosting us, and it was one of the most memorable events the AFL has ever held. It was a four-day affair of history, education, fun, and delectable cuisine, including a bona fide pig pickin’!
In 2023, the Lafayette Alliance will host the AFL’s annual meeting in LaGrange, Georgia. This meeting will no doubt be another unforgettable meeting, and plans are already underway. The Alliance promises an informative and enjoyable weekend with a huge dose of southern charm.
The Lafayette Alliance and the Lafayette Society may not have the national footprint of the AFL, but they have an equally important role. Local organizations can influence a community, and both of these organizations have done just that. Making local citizens aware of Lafayette’s legacy in a place named after him (or his home) is incredibly important. The pride that these two cities have regarding their namesake is palpable when you are there.
The Lafayette Alliance and the Lafayette Society have made significant strides with making civic improvements, partnering with minority entities, and educating their residents on the importance that Lafayette as a role model plays in the 21st century. As the AFL seeks to explain Lafayette’s importance on a national level, these two organizations have already accomplished this on a local level (populations of 31,000 in LaGrange and 350,000 in Fayetteville).
Both organizations have members that attend AFL events regularly. It is not surprising to see at least a dozen Fayettevillians at any AFL function. The AFL happily promotes events hosted in both Fayetteville and LaGrange, and of course these organizations reciprocate when the AFL presents public events. The guidance and dedication of both the Lafayette Alliance and the Lafayette Society have been simply amazing to behold.
This dedication was on full display when both decided to make sure that all of their officers and board members became full-fledged members of the AFL. This remarkable display of solidarity was executed in 2021 and will continue for years to come. The influx of new members is certainly much appreciated, but more important is the type of new member the AFL has welcomed. These are hardworking and devoted individuals who share our common mission. The AFL is a much better organization with these folks involved.
Partnership is not the only reason the Lafayette Alliance and the Lafayette Society had their leaders join the AFL. Having their officers and board members receive the world-famous Gazette and other forms of communication on a national level will benefit them as well. With the Bicentennial of the Farewell Tour only two years away, and our annual meeting in LaGrange only one year away, understanding the national picture is crucial. Keeping abreast of national news and events pertaining to Lafayette will be important for both of these organizations.
The American Friends of Lafayette is extremely grateful for these partnerships and looks forward to working with these societies for the many years that lie ahead. Both the Lafayette Alliance and the Lafayette Society have many members who are not officers or directors but are currently members in the AFL. Below is the list of just the officers and directors from each organization who are now members of the American Friends of Lafayette:
Lafayette Alliance of LaGrange, GA
Richard Ingram (Chair & Founder)
Linda McMullen (Vice-Chair)
John Cipolla (Treasurer)
Alex Hughes (Secretary)
Shannon Johnson (Nominating Director)
Zeke Weldon (Nominating Director)
Jake Behr (Director)
Raylene Carter (Director)
Kathren Fogg (Director)
Murray Schine (Director)
George Henry (Director)
Zelda Jones (Director)
Bethany Miller-Urroz (Director)
Mandi Nash (Director)
Christiane Price (Director)
Joe Thompson (Director)
Carlos Urroz (Director)
Kerri Vice (Director)
Lafayette Society of Fayetteville, NC
Bud Lafferty (President)
Arleen Fields (VP/Secretary)
Rick Suehr (Treasurer)
Hank Parfitt (President Emeritus)
Betty Goolsby (Executive Committee)
Jamie Ammons (Director)
Julie MacRae (Director)
Gwenesta Melton (Director)
Ron Schooler (Director)
Rob Taber (Director)
Robin Wiggs (Director)