Soldiers in Afghanistan receive Girl Scout cookies

Marcie Kennedy stands by 72 boxes of cookies from Girl Scout Troop 719. Kennedy shipped cookies to troops, including daughter Lesli Kennedy, deployed to Afghanistan. CONTRIBUTED
Marcie Kennedy stands by 72 boxes of cookies from Girl Scout Troop 719. Kennedy shipped cookies to troops, including daughter Lesli Kennedy, deployed to Afghanistan. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Soldiers in Afghanistan welcomed the taste of Girl Scout cookies, thanks to the diligence of Girl Scout Troop 719 in Madison.

While selling Girl Scout cookies, Troop 719 collected monetary donations to send boxes of cookies to U.S. troops. “Before each selling season, the group discusses who will receive the donated boxes. We brainstorm about organizations and then vote,” Junior Leader Michele Gay said.

Girls in Troop 719 are 8 to 11 years old. Junior Girl Scouts are Shelley Averitt, Shelby Ball, Olivia Gay, Bailey Green, Emily Green, Meredith Hartwig, Carrie Horne, Katie Grace Jones and Skylar Weidenthal. Brownies are Jessica Averitt, Katie Flynn, Camille Hartwig, Ari Heuer and Caroline Kokan.

The troop collected enough money to donate 72 boxes. “Our largest contributor, Marcie Kennedy, purchased 24 boxes and paid the shipping fees to mail all cookies overseas,” Gay said. Kennedy processed two shipments to Afghanistan — two to Alabama National Guard soldiers and one to an Air Force combat group deployed from Arizona.

Kennedy’s daughter Lesli serves a First Lieutenant with Alabama National Guard at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Role 2 Hospital, Kabul. The Turkish government operates this NATO hospital for Afghanistan.

In past years, Lesli Kennedy had bought cookies from neighbor Olivia Gay, Michele’s daughter. With Lesli’s deployment, “Marcie felt an obligation to support the morale of (troops) in light of their sacrifice,” Michele said.

Lesli and her fellow soldiers at the Kabul hospital received cookies. Other recipients were soldiers in Alabama National Guard’s 129th Area Support Medical Company, deployed as the Bagram Air Field Evacuation Team, stationed at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.

The other group is the 55th Electronic Combat Group from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., deployed to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.

The Scouts also donated cookies to homeless individuals.

Troop 719 holds after-school meetings every other Monday at Asbury United Methodist Church. Junior leaders are Susie Averitt and Michele Gay. Big Brownie leaders are Colleen Flynn and Stephanie Kokan.

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