The idea of ‘returning home’ became a FAWCO reality in the late 1970s when Helen Cola, from AWA Rome, moved back to Washington D.C., and set up a card file of local repatriates. This group became known as FAWCO West, a vision shared by Jackie Isler, who created a Returning Home Committee in 1980. The Washington group sent back how-to information on obtaining credit, license plates, mortgages, schools and whatever else pertained to adjusting to life back home. "Guidelines for Returning to the USA" was published in 1983 in response to a survey and included a chapter on returning home with children. An ongoing ad was placed in club bulletins: “Returning to the USA? Don’t let us lose you.”
In 1989 Linda Crowley was appointed the Alumnae Committee representative. Using a computer, Linda expanded the membership file and sent out a newsletter. She was succeeded by Karin Burdsall.
In 1997 at the Dublin Conference, the delegates voted to meet in Washington D. C. to celebrate the year 2000 in America. This idea was a first. Under Mona Garcia’s leadership, for the next three years twenty-one women came from all over the United States, meeting in various venues - Chicago, Santa Fe, and Washington, D.C. - to make plans. They were: Mona , Linda Johnson, Linda Sampson, Jude Stalker, Linda Crowley, Kay Miller, Dorothy Childers, Elizabth Bagney, Eileen Plumpis, Angela Eliopoulis, Dale Koepenick, Jean Geesey, Donna Belt, Nancy Thornley; also Helen McNulty, Eleanor Fina, Lise Chase, Donna Gray, Marilyn Richey, Shirley Van Ooijen, and Brooke Givot. They organized the 2000 FAWCO Conference, which was held at the Hotel Washington on March 16-20. The Conference Cookbook, written by Nancy Thornley, was published and sold for the occasion.
These organizers became the nucleus of the alumnae group which, up to that time, was a FAWCO committee.
FAUSA IS BORN
On May 1, 2000, the group became a new entity, FAWCO Alumnae USA (FAUSA), incorporated in the State of Texas. It had a bank account and an elected Board of Directors. As it was an independent organization and no longer a committee, FAUSA became an Affiliate Member Club. However, this designation seemed inappropriate as applied to FAUSA.
By 2001 the new organization had both a Constitution and Bylaws and Administrative Guidelines, written by Nancy Thornley. The Bylaws were headed by the statement, "The purpose of the Association shall be to facilitate the repatriation experience of its members and to help them maintain their international ties in order to bring about a better undestanding between the United States and other nations." FAUSA was also granted 501(c)(4) status by the IRS, published a quarterly publication, began an awards program and began holding Annual Meetings.
In 2003 the FAWCO Bylaws were changed to designate FAUSA as the alumnae arm of the Federation, with the same rights of participation as those of member clubs except regarding members' holding office in FAWCO and receiving certain FAWCO scholarships (FAUSA contributes to its own alumnae scholarship, and the Foundation administers it).
By Jacqueline Isler, Mona Garcia, Nancy Thornley, Lee Sorenson
Click here to download the FAUSA 10th Anniversary Magazine.