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Please begin with an informative title:

My wife has been a Girl Scout leader for fifteen years, and been the local Girl Scout community director for about ten of those years.  When people say "Girl Scout" nearly everyone immediately thinks "Cookies", but Girl Scouts do far more than just sell cookies.  They do community service projects, learn about history and culture, go camping, and any number of other activities.  

But today I'm going to reinforce the stereotype a bit as I'm going to talk about cookies.  More beneath the fold...

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My wife has been a Girl Scout leader for fifteen years, and been the local Girl Scout community director for about ten of those years.  When people say "Girl Scout" nearly everyone immediately thinks "Cookies", but Girl Scouts do far more than just sell cookies.  They do community service projects, learn about history and culture, go camping, and any number of other activities.  

But today I'm going to reinforce the stereotype a bit as I'm going to talk about cookies.  For the past six years Girl Scouts in our community have collected cookies to send to American military personnel through a program named "Operation Cookie Drop".  When the girls make the rounds selling cookies they offer an option for people to purchase extra boxes of cookies to send to the troops.  It's a way for people who don't want any cookies for themselves to still support both Girl Scouts (local troops earn a commission for each box they sell) and our troops.

After the cookie order arrives the boxes for the troops are collected at a home or business.  In our case, the troop leaders drop off the cookies for troops at my hardware store where we store them in our conference room.  On a designated day we transport the cookies (in several minivans) to a pickup area where we hand the precious cargo off to military personnel who then transport the cookies to their destination overseas.

This all happened months ago, and once the cookies are gone it's easy to forget about them.  Then about two weeks ago my wife received the following email:

Sent: Friday, August 27, 2010 3:29 AM
To: judy@.com
Subject: [UNCLASSIFIED / NONE] Thank you!

I went on the Tuckahoe/Eastchester website to see if I can post a "thank you" note to the girls for sending the HUGE amount of Girl Scout cookies but there was no option to do that.  You are the only person with contact information on the site, so I'm writing you to see if you would be kind enough to pass on my note to the Scouts and the leadership.

From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank each and every one of you for putting in long hours and loads of effort to get us the Girl Scout cookies.  They came to us in a large container on a ship, so all of the boxes that you touched sailed across many miles of ocean to get into our hands.  As I type this, a box of Lemon Chalet Cremes are sitting on my desk and I'm looking at your personalized sticker with your address and the cute little cartoon Girl Scout jumping up for joy on the left!  Believe me, I know how challenging a job it is to bring "stuff" over from the US to where we are.  We have groups of people with specific skills that are solely responsible for bringing "stuff" over.
By sending these cookies to us, you girls have accomplished a task with the same efficiency and enthusiasm as any military supply organization would have done.  You see, if you put your brilliant minds to it, you can accomplish anything.  I always say to my troops, "If there is a will, there is a way."  I'm not only grateful for your kindness, but I am also proud to serve our great Country and to serve for wonderful
people such as yourselves!   God Bless you all and thank you!

With utmost respect and much aloha,

Commander Keith D. Fernandez, U.S. Navy

My wife shared the email with the Girl Scout troops in our community, and sent Commander Fernandez a reply:
Sent: Friday, August 27, 2010 3:09 PM
To: Fernandez, Keith D CDR MIL USA USN USARCENT ASG-K
Subject: RE: [UNCLASSIFIED / NONE] Thank you!

Commander Fernandez,

Thank you so much for your wonderful email.  I am so glad that the cookies were delivered safely and intact!  I have forwarded your email to all our leaders and asked them to forward it on to each girl.  

I'm not sure if you know where Tuckahoe and Eastchester are, but we are about 30 minutes north of New York City in a typically suburban town. We have 500 girls in Girl Scouting ranging from kindergarten to seniors in high school.  My daughter Rebecca and two other girls from our troop were the people who labeled each box.  They are going to be seniors this year in high school.  This year, the Tuckahoe/Eastchester Girl Scouts sent almost 3,000 boxes of cookies out to soldiers and over the past 5 years we have sent close to 15,000. We have Girl Scout troops from 3 different counties who collect the cookies and then servicemen and women from Fort Dix come with a large tractor trailer to pick them all up. Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson sent over 43,000 boxes out this year.

I hope this email finds you safe and well.  My nephew, Rich, is on an aircraft carrier somewhere in the Middle East.  Obviously, I think of all the servicemen and women who are so far from home and wish you all a very safe return to the US.  

Keep well,

Judy Fix
Community Director
Tuckahoe/Eastchester Girl Scouts

Today she received a reply, and though I'm normally not the sentimental type his note brought a tear to my eye:
From: Fernandez, Keith D CDR MIL USA USN USARCENT ASG-K
Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2010 2:13 AM
To: Judy Fix
Subject: [UNCLASSIFIED / NONE] RE: Thank you!

Judy,

What an amazing operation you all run.  Believe me, when we're over here, something as mundane as a paperclip from home is STILL a little piece of home that makes us feel all the much closer to our lives with our family, friends and loved ones.  So to receive a box of Girl Scout cookies, labeled by hand, is all the more special.  Please give a heart-filled thanks to your daughter Rebecca and her two friends from the troop for labeling all of the boxes.  Please let them know that I cut out the label from the box and it is proudly displayed on my desk, as a reminder that there are 500 highly motivated Girl Scouts in Tuckahoe and Eastchester, who runs an operation that has brought 15,000 pieces of home to deployed soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardians in support of the Global War on Terrorism.  I salute each and every one of them, as well as their fine leaders!  

Much aloha,
Keith

My wife has received several other emails from troops over the years, including a link to a Facebook photo album showing cookies being unloaded at the USO in Baghdad.  I rarely write diaries on dKos, but today I just felt really proud of my wife, my daughters, and all the wonderful women in my town and all over the country that work so hard to collect cookies for our troops.  It transcends politics and religion (my wife and I are both liberal and atheist), it's all about community and supporting the men and women who are serving our nation so far from home.  Next time a Girl Scout knocks on your door consider buying a box or two for the troops, even if you personally are avoiding the temptation of a Thin Mint cookie.
Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to John3 on Thu Sep 09, 2010 at 10:39 AM PDT.

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