Heather Wood, Staff One
It’s that time of year that we either encounter or seek out our favorite Girl Scouts to get our hands on our favorite cookies, whether it be Thin Mints, Samoas or maybe Tagalongs. Most of us have indulged in the $4.00 per box cookies. Even if you don’t nosh on them yourself, perhaps you’ve donated a box of cookies to be sent to our deployed troops. You didn’t want to disappoint that smiling Girl Scout, but you also didn’t bring home a box of cookies that would add more time at the gym for those New Year’s resolutions. But have you ever wondered how those cookies get sent to our troops and whether they actually make it overseas?
This is the first year of Girl Scouts for my daughter. Like most of the Scouts, at first she was very excited to sell as many cookies as she could. When she came home and told my fiancé Mike and me of what she wanted to accomplish, we showed our support. Then Erinn turned to Mike and asked if he ever ate Girl Scout Cookies while he was deployed.
You see, Mike is career Army, with more than 18 years of service to date. He has served in the last three wars and continues to serve our country. Mike turned to Erinn and told her that Girl Scout Cookies kept his soldiers and himself safe on more than one occasion. He spoke of how the cookies were a taste of home and a reminder of what they were fighting for: the soil that she stands on, her safety and for the rights and privileges she is entitled to as an American. Each day, the soldiers would come back to theater and walk into the large shipping containers that held nothing but case after case of Girl Scout Cookies. He said, “there was nothing better than a Girl Scout Cookie after a day in the sand. They survived another day. “
Mike explained to Erinn that part of his job was to lead a group of soldiers to find the Taliban. A surprising fact was that they would pack Girl Scout Cookies in the Up Armored Humvee before heading out. Erinn asked why they did that, and Mike said that they would use the cookies to reward the Afghan children in telling them where the Taliban were hiding, and locations of IEDs. He showed us a picture of a group of children who always were eager to assist him.
The second part of his job was to train the new Afghanistan Army to work like the American Army. Erinn asked how he talked to these new soldiers. He told her what an interpreter was and how their job was to translate the two languages. The interpreter was not an American and had to find a way to establish trust with this person who could easily turn against him and hurt his men. Mike gave the interpreter boxes of Girl Scout Cookies every day to show his appreciation.
These practices are standard with our military, and only a small sample of how this $4.00 box of cookies helps to protect our deployed men and women. After hearing the story, Erinn wrapped her arms around Mike and told him that she wanted to make sure his friends were safe and that he would always come home to us. Erinn took it upon herself to change her focus to increasing the donation of boxes donated to the Troop to Troop program. I am so proud of my daughter for understanding the value of doing her part in making our world a better place.
The story doesn’t end here… When I told our CEO, Mark Sinatra, of Erinn’s project, he committed Staff One to matching each box that his Staff One team donated to the Troop to Troop program. The Staff One’s support of Mike, Erinn and the Girl Scouts is indescribable.
We are heading into the last week of Girl Scout cookie sales…. I hope the next trip to the grocery store, you will put a smile on a Girl Scout’s and send your support to our troops with a $4.00 box of cookies.