Several Martinez Brownie and Girl Scout troops are working together to thank a few U.S. Navy men and women for their service overseas.
Brownie Laina Freeman, 7, reads her letter to a soldier in Iraq while fellow scout Nici Coke listens.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"We're writing letters to troops overseas," said Rachel Harrison, 15, a senior Girl Scout cadet of troop number 80. "We're telling them who we are, what we do and how we live. We're just trying to tell them a little bit about ourselves."
Senior Girl Scout member Mandi Haroldson said she not only wants her letter to thank the Navy sailors but also to encourage them.
"I want them to know that I'm praying for them because, if they feel that they're being prayed for, it will lift their spirits," the member of troop 80 said.
Kymberlee Sines, 8, a Brownie and member of troop 161, said she had trouble writing her letter.
"It was a little hard because I had to think of something to say that would make the soldiers feel encouraged and happy," she said.
Brownie troop 161, Girl Scout cadet troop 167 and senior Girl Scout troop 80 recently met at Gorin's Sandwich and Ice Cream Cafe to show their letters of appreciation with each other and discuss ideas for making personal care packets for Navy sailors.
"We just wanted the girls to recognize that we have servicemen for our country to help keep our country safe," said Lori Divin, a co-leader of Brownie troop 161. "We want them to know that there's more to life than people in our hometown. Just like our servicemen are helping save our country, we should, as part of our troops, do things in the community."
Jennifer Crow, Brownie leader for troop 161, said what started out as a small, monthly project intensified into something big.
"My troop decided we needed to do something for our soldiers (in view) of Sept. 11," she said. "They decided to write some letters. But when we read them, they just turned out so darn cute they just touched your hearts. So we said, 'Let's try get all the (Brownie and Girl Scout) troops to participate.' "
This is the letter Laina wrote to the soldier.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
With 300 Brownie and Girl Scouts from the Lakeside Service Unit, which makes up one third of the troops in Columbia County, Crow said she's planning to send more than 300 letters to Navy sailors.
"Some of these (sailors) don't get things at all," she said. "We just want to show them that we appreciate them and we appreciate what they're doing for us."
Mary Garcia, a Girl Scout cadet leader for troop 167, helped coordinate the event with Crow, Divin and her husband, Jim, an operations specialist first class petty officer (surface warface), who is currently serving overseas while aboard the USS Roosevelt.
"My husband, Jim, brought it to my attention before his deployment in June," she said. "We knew we could do something like this in the month of September."
When Jim Garcia found out what the troops were doing, Mary Garcia said he wrote an e-mail of gratitude to Crow.
"I believe this would be a great morale booster for the crew and (it) would definitely be appreciated throughout the command," he wrote. "On behalf of the USS Roosevelt we applaud the generosity of the Girl Scout organization and its members for their support and promise to protect Freedom and Democracy for all Americans to enjoy."
Garcia said some of the travel items that the troops will be collecting for personal care packets include: cookies, candy that won't melt, Slim Jims, gum, shampoo, toothpaste, shaving cream and disposable razors.
She said more troops will participate in the project Saturday by bringing more letters and items for the personal care packets at Krogers in Evans from 1-2 p.m.
For more information on donating items, call Mary Garcia at 650-1380.
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