Friday, February 2, 2007
"A taste from home" for the troops
"Just wanted to say thank you for the cookies and for supporting the troops overseas," wrote Major Edward Sekerak. "They are a welcome taste from home. God bless you and God bless America."
For more than three years, several area Girl Scout troops have been sending donated cookies to military service people stationed overseas. What began as a general community service project for Carlisle's Girl Scout Troop 2645 has become a global service project and a really nice way to sell more cookies. More than half the cookies donated this year by area Girl Scouts have come from Carlisle's seventh-grade troop.
Troop 2645 has been selling cookies to local residents who then give the cookies back to the girls to send to the men and women stationed overseas. The Girl Scouts write letters and enclose cards to go along with the donated cookies which are then forwarded by Suzanne Sweet and Eileen Faber, Carlisle's Girl Scout coordinators, to the area Girl Scout coordinator. The boxes are then taken to Hanscom Air Force Base where they are put on a C5 transport plane headed overseas. There the cookies are distributed to the military personnel.
Letters from the troops
The girls have received some wonderful e-mails and photos from the troops, which they shared with the Mosquito.
TSgt. Eugene Convard from Woodbury, Connecticut, wrote: "To the wonderful Concord/Carlisle Girl Scouts: When I found out that you sent [the cookies] to us, I was just greatly moved. This is such a cool thing for you to do; everyone here is totally going off any diet they may have thought they were on! We have a pretty good chow here so maybe I will take a few over there and put them in a bowl with ice cream. They remind us all so much of home. For myself, my wife and daughter and sister were Girl Scouts. So I have quite a history of Scouting and seeing these gifts from you made me totally think of home and America, yeah! I work in a passenger terminal here at Al Udeid (u deed). We operate the central air base helping the whole area that is Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan while also supporting humanitarian relief efforts as needed like the homeless from the earthquake in Pakistan. We are putting cookies out to the troops in the terminal waiting to go into the countries they are sent to and for those we are helping to get home again to their loved ones. They snap them up quickly!"
Staff Sergeant Sherron L. DeBerry wrote: " . . . I just wanted to thank you personally for the cookies. I love the Girl Scout cookies and look forward to buying them every year. I came in to work today and saw a huge skid of boxes of cookies and I thought I was 11 years old on Christmas. So again, thank you very much."
Mahalo from Hawaii
MSgt. Mark Avery wrote: "Aloha to all the young ladies of Troop 2645. I wanted to send a huge mahalo (thank you in Hawaiian) from the personnel here at my unit. Our job is to put cargo/supplies for the soldiers fighting the war against terrorism. We send out food, clothes, blood, bullets, vehicles, and many more supplies to Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, and the United States. Also, we put soldiers on Air Force aircraft and civilian aircraft and send them to fight or even better yet back home. The cookies will be placed in our terminal to give the soldiers and airmen heading to the war or home. That will give them a good memory of home. Thank you for the gifts and messages. It is much appreciated and gives us energy to continue doing our job. Aloha, and God Bless."
TSgt. Martin L. Mendoza with the United States Air Force said: "Thank you very much for the delicious Girl Scout cookies. Your kindness is deeply appreciated by the men in my unit. It is these simple yet meaningful gestures that keep us going knowing that you support the men and women in the Armed Forces that defend freedom which is so precious Enjoy and cherish freedom, for it is not free.With great gratitude."
Master Sergeant Raymond Arceo wrote: "Nothing comes close to your thoughts of our troops here in the desert. Your heartfelt letter and sweet cookies brings us that much closer to home. . . We are sharing your cookies with all the other sections here at work. They love it, and of course are enjoying it. The world is a better place because of your efforts and thoughtfulness. My prayers are with you and your family. And yes, we are here to keep our world a better place to live in. The people of Iraq are grateful. Be good, stay in school. Listen to your mom, dad and teacher."
More cookies on their way
Troop 2645 has just sent another batch of cookies, letters and cards, and they look forward to hearing back from the troops. "So often we send food or money to worthy causes, but we don't hear back; that's fine — it's not about hearing back," said Linda Myers-Tierney, Carlisle Girl Scouts' cookie coordinator. "But with this project we did hear back and that has galvanized my continued commitment to this service project with the Girl Scouts." Thirteen-year-old Lauren Tierney said, "I felt really touched that I was making such a difference in their lives, reminding them of home and encouraging them."
The Girl Scouts perform various types of community service to earn their bronze awards. Last year this troop performed 40 hours of service at a local nursing home, providing community service for the elderly. "Although this service project may or may not count toward their badges, it's not about the badge." said Myers-Tierney. "It's a part of the infrastructure of what the Girl Scouts are all about and do."
Part of this project's success is the overwhelming response from the community. Without the donations, there would be no cookies to send, and even after three years, the donations keep coming. "Because the troops are really far away from home, getting cookies from us makes them feel like we haven't forgotten them," summarizes Emma Frodigh of Troop 2645. "I feel good when they give us letters for giving them cookies. It makes me feel like we did something good."
© 2007 The Carlisle Mosquito