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Inside this Issue

January/February 2019

Glimpse into the lives and passions of the diverse group of women who comprise today’s DAR membership.

National Treasures
Take a step inside the DAR Museum for a closer look at its fascinating collection.

More Articles
Learn about the interesting historical articles from this issue.

To Come in Our Next Issue
Preview the exciting stories to be featured in the next issue of American Spirit.

Today's Daughters
Life Support: Bethney Seifert

Volume 153, Number 1
By Lena Anthony
Photograph courtesy of Bethney Seifert

A Nevada Daughter coordinates the complex process of organ transplant transportation

When an organ donor dies, the clock starts ticking. Sophisticated technology can match organs to recipients in an instant, but there’s nothing easy about what comes next. Mobilizing a recovery team, organizing safe, reliable transportation—all at a moment’s notice—can be just as complex as the life-saving transplant surgery itself.

“It’s like playing chess in your head, except it’s extremely fast-paced,” said Bethney Seifert, who serves as flight coordinator and safety manager for Reno, Nevada-based Transplant Transportation Services, which arranges transportation for organ recovery teams from across the Western United States, many of them located in the San Francisco Bay Area. “I’m always thinking three steps ahead to help make sure we anticipate anything that could happen. I don’t want to say, ‘I never saw that coming.’”

Delays can be disastrous in this line of work, especially when you consider the time-sensitive nature of organ transplants. Once the blood supply is cut off, recovery teams, usually led by the transplant surgeon, have four hours to transplant a heart and six hours to transplant lungs. Livers and kidneys allow a little more breathing room—they have to be transplanted in 12 hours and 24 hours respectively.

“Every decision I make is based on the specific organ they’re recovering,” said Mrs. Seifert, member of Sierra Nevada Chapter in Reno, Nev. “Unless it’s local, hearts have to travel by jet.”

But airplanes can’t take off immediately. “It takes two hours to prepare a small aircraft; we need three for a jet,” she said. “There are so many variables to look at for any given call.”

Locating a plane isn’t usually her biggest concern, though—it’s the weather.

“Winter fog in the Bay Area is our enemy,” she said. “I am constantly watching the weather. Bad weather can completely derail our plans.”

The 2017 Las Vegas shooting tested Mrs. Seifert’s mettle. With the international airport shut down, a recovery team was unable to fly out. Luckily, she located another plane that was in range, contacted the operator of that flight, convinced them to land at a nearby airport and fly the surgeon and the organ to Los Angeles, where the transplant was to take place.

“On the one-year anniversary of that night in Las Vegas, we all talked about how thankful we were to know each other and be able to work together,” she said. “Every job is special because we’re providing such a vital service, but that night has had the most profound effect on me.”

Twenty-four hour shifts make for long days, which is why Mrs. Seifert only works as a flight coordinator three times a week. Ten days a month she’s also a family nurse practitioner at an in-patient psychiatric facility for teenagers. Mrs. Seifert—who has two teenage sons with her husband Bill—mastered the art of multitasking during her 20-year service in the Nevada National Guard.

In the National Guard, she served 10 years as a photographic interpreter, the same job her grandfather had in the Navy during World War II. Then she moved into air transportation, loading equipment, cargo and other supplies in and out of military aircraft. Two-week deployments took her across the world to Australia, South Korea, Panama and Germany. 

In 2004, she deployed for six months to Uzbekistan. An on-the-job injury during the deployment forced her retirement in 2006.

Staying involved in the DAR—she’s the Nevada State Organizing Secretary—helps fill a void that came after leaving the military.

“I love serving our veterans and our communities,” she said. “It gives me such a sense of team and camaraderie with friends, like I had in the military.”

For more Today’s Daughters, please click here.

To nominate a Daughter for a future issue, e-mail a description to

National Treasures
Badge of Oppression

Volume 153, Number 1
Photo courtesy of William Strollo/DAR Museum

Slave tags were used in Charleston, S.C., as a means of controlling the free and enslaved African population seeking work outside of their homes. Slave owners were required to purchase a tag each year in order to hire out enslaved populations for additional income. John Joseph Lafar was commissioned by the city to produce the copper tags in 1812, and it is estimated that 1,106 were purchased that year. Most records regarding the sale of slave tags no longer exist, thus it is not known who wore this tag.

Charleston first required licensing of enslaved Africans working away from a plantation in the late 17th century. Slave tag regulations were renewed and nullified over the next century. From 1800 until the end of the Civil War, enslaved populations were required to wear their tags anytime they worked away from the plantation. Enslaved individuals without tags could be jailed and resold at slave auctions.  Free blacks were also required to purchase and wear the tags at various times and locations before the Civil War. To the enslaved individual, this simple object was a visual reminder of their bondage and a clear sign to others that the wearer was not a free person. 

For more National Treasures, please visit the DAR Museum's Featured Objects.

More Articles

The Lockkeeper’s House Steps Back into the Spotlight by Courtney Peter
The oldest structure on the National Mall, the Lockkeeper’s House has undergone restoration and relocation that has returned the once-forgotten building back to prominence.

The Doctors’ Riot by Bill Hudgins
In 1788, an angry mob stormed through the doors of Columbia College medical school over reports that students had robbed graves to obtain cadavers for dissection purposes. Though unethical, grave robbing—or body snatching—was one of the only ways to meet the demand

for bodies to educate future doctors.

Vaccinating Early America by Lena Anthony
English physician Edward Jenner is widely considered the father of vaccination. But without Boston physician Zabdiel Boylston’s success with his inoculation experiments, Jenner’s remarkable discoveries may have never happened.

Memory Savers by Megan Hamby
Every year, natural disasters and severe weather events inflict costly damage to homes and the priceless family heirlooms found inside. The good news is that photographs, artwork and family documents can be salvaged and restored when action is taken quickly.
Plus: Ways to proactively preserve your treasures.

Visions of America: Presidential Libraries by Jamie Roberts
These institutions shed light on our presidents’ impact on history, offering exhibits, artifacts and documents that highlight significant moments of their terms in office.


Spirited Adventures: Montgomery, Ala. by Jamie Roberts
Montgomery, Ala., changed hands several times before incorporating in 1819. Since then, Alabama’s capital city has been the setting for momentous change, both during the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement.

Historic Homes: The Residence at Woodberry Forest School by Bill Hudgins
The history of the Residence at Woodberry Forest School dates back to 1793, when it was built for William, James Madison’s youngest brother. Today the renovated home houses the headmaster’s family.

Our Patriots: The Brewster Sisters by Abbey Dean
A close friend of Thomas Jefferson, Mazzei acted as an arms agent for Virginia during the Revolutionary War. The doctrine “All men are created equal,” was likely paraphrased from Mazzei’s writing.

Plus the President General’s Message and Whatnot

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To Come in March/April 2019:

Women Journalists of the Revolutionary War Era

Maple sugaring in Early America

Historic Cultivars