Friday, July 6, 2012

New Jersey Girl Scouts Bring Cheer to Naval Hospital

In New Jersey, The Sentinel reports that Girl Scout Troop 81737 has been donating Girl Scout Cookies overseas to members of the armed forces for nearly seven years.

This year, however, the scouts decided to make personal deliveries.

The seven Scout Ambassadors, who will be high school seniors next year, traveled to Bethesda, Md. on June 22 to hand out boxes of cookies to hospitalized troops at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

They passed out 15 cases of cookies to wounded servicemen and servicewomen at the hospital’s residence hall, where they are rehabilitating.

The members of Girl Scout Troop 81737, of South Brunswick, donated 21 cases of cookies on June 22 to members of the U.S. armed forces undergoing rehabilitation in Bethesda, Md.

Adult Volunteer Gina Zielinski, who started sending cookies overseas when her son, Christopher Watson, became a U.S. Marine eight years ago, explained why the troop felt it necessary to make this trip to Maryland.

“They were talking about all the wounded soldiers and about how when they come back, they are more or less forgotten and that they wanted to say, ‘Thank you,’” she said .

According to Zielinski, the injured service members appreciated both the donations and the time the girls took to see them.

“They were very pleased that they were remembered,” she said. “It was heart-wrenching to see them. Some were missing three limbs, but their attitudes are so upbeat and amazing.”

The troop raised $1,000 for the trip. They received monetary donations from the Moose Lodge in South Brunswick, theAmerican Legion posts of Monmouth Junction and Milltown, the South Brunswick Republican Organization, and many private individuals. Before a monthly meeting, Lt. John Farnkopf, of South Brunswick’s American Legion Post 401, presented the troop with a donation for the cookies.

“The American Legion is all about supporting our troops, our veterans, and our community,” said Gary Cooper, post commander. “Girl Scout cookies are a part of Americana. We’ve been eating them since we were kids. Post 401 is proud to support this project, and we thank the girls and their leaders for bringing a taste of home to our hospitalized troops.” Zielinski said the trip was an enlightening experience for her troop, making the realities of war starkly clear.