Over 630 Local Vets Get Visits from Girl Scouts
by Pat Allen
(November 13, 2008) Even before becoming a Brownie troop leader in Larchmont this year, Kristy DeRienzo understood the impact of the local Girl Scout’s Veterans Day “thank you gift” tradition. “As my husband was a Marine, we have appreciated being a recipient of the Girl Scout gifts for years,” she explained. “Now as a leader for the first year, I have to say I felt just as much pride, if not more, delivering these gifts to vets in our community.”
Carrying on a tradition started four years ago, Girl Scouts from more than 30 troops in Larchmont and Mamaroneck spent Tuesday, November 11, Veterans Day, visiting over 630 veterans who live in the community. Among the visitors were the first grade Brownies from Ms. DeRienzo’s troop 1833 at Murray Avenue School. This was their first year participating in the project and “they met some truly grateful service members, got plenty of smiles and even a few tears,” reported Ms. DeRienzo.
As in past years, Girl Scouts and Brownies from throughout the community started by making a thank you gift for each veteran. By mid-October they’d made over 500 “door hangers” which included a Veterans Day poem and were decorated by the girls. Then they added hand-made “thank you medals” fashioned from red, white and blue ribbon and gold “thank you” stickers. They gathered once again on Election Day to make another 130 door hangers and medals to ensure that they would have enough for all the veterans.
With routes and maps in hand, groups of girls and leaders then headed out on November 11, knocking on doors, presenting their gifts and thanking veterans for their service to the country.
In addition, Brownie troop 1825 from Central School took the time to stop by American Legion Post 90 in Mamaroneck to sing “God Bless America” to the veterans who were gathered there. Ed Murray, commander of Post 90, expressed his thanks to the girls saying, “All the veterans there could not find enough words of appreciation to say thank you to your girls for remembering them.”
“It’s heartwarming to see the girls reach out so readily to our veterans and to start to appreciate the sacrifices that these men and women have made for our country,” said Cathy Bennett, volunteer community chair for Girl Scouts of Larchmont Mamaroneck. “It’s important that we honor our veterans and what the girls take away from this project in terms of understanding makes it all the more meaningful.”
Pat Allen is a troop leader and volunteer community chair for Girl Scouts in Larchmont-Mamaroneck.