Local girl scout troop gives back to deployed soldiers

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

This year marks the 100th anniversary of a favorite snack for millions across the United States: Girl Scout cookies.

As those who buy these treats on a regular basis are undoubtedly aware, Girl Scout cookies are sold annually during this time of year. Sales began at the beginning of this month and will continue through mid-March.

A Hampton Girl Scout troop sent cookies to Billy Collins in 2013 while he was deployed. This was the second time the troop sent cookies to him. The day this photo was taken, the soldiers in his unit didn’t have breakfast so they took cookies with them on their mission. Special photo

While this year’s local supply will be enjoyed by many Henry Countians, a portion of it will make its way around the world. Dozens of Girl Scout troops package cookies every year for soldiers, but one troop based in Hampton send some personally to men and women deployed overseas.

“We’ve gotten a ton of letters over the years from soldiers who were so appreciative,” said Stephanie Bodie, who works with three troops in Hampton and has daughters at three different levels.

In addition to personal correspondence, Bodie has various memorabilia such as a pin from the Army and a flag that was flown over a base in Afghanistan in the troop’s honor.

“I wanted to thank you personally for the thoughtful and considerate gesture,” one soldier wrote in 2010 from southern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border. “We live in very primitive conditions. It will be summer here soon and the temperatures will be in the 120s. It’s good to know how many good folks back home are thinking of us.”

A number of interesting photos have come back with the letters, such as a group of soldiers on a Humvee in the Middle East eating thin mints. One man got a case while stationed in Kosovo and took them into a mountain cave to eat while on his assigned watch.

“No one says no to Girl Scout cookies. It is very rare anyone turns them down because they are a good price,” said Bodie. “A lot of people, especially older people, like to remember when they were scouts. It’s really nostalgic for them, I guess.”

Hampton Girl Scouts present blankets to the Hampton Police Department. A big part of Girl Scouts’ cookie sales is giving back to their community. The blankets they donated were purchased with some of their earnings from selling cookies. Special photo

Girl Scout cookies have changed a little over the last century but not much. They are made at three bakeries across the country and sometimes they tasted slightly different depending upon which bakery produced them, Bodie said.

And some of them will no doubt be available in your neighborhood soon.