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Operation Cookie Drop
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Williams, Electronic Systems Center command chief, thanks Girl Scouts, parents and troop leaders after all cookies had been delivered during Operation Cookie Drop on March 5. More than 1,500 Girl Scouts dropped off approximately 30,000 boxes of cookies to 11 troop-focused non-profit organizations and military and federal government agencies during the one-day event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Linda LaBonte Britt)
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Next generation leaders -- Girl Scouts -- drop cookies off at Hanscom for troops abroad

Posted 3/8/2011   Updated 3/8/2011 Email story   Print story


by Capt. Geoff Buteau
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

3/8/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- American troops deployed overseas will receive more than 30,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies thanks to the fifth annual Operation Cookie Drop, when more than 1,500 Girl Scouts from across eastern Massachusetts touched down here at Hanscom March 5 to donate cookies bought for the troops by eastern Massachusetts residents.

The cookies will reach the troops all over the globe with the help of 11 troop-focused non-profit organizations and military and federal government agencies. Hanscom served as the transfer, or "drop," point.

Each organization will deliver the cookies to the troops in their own way, but in general these organizations will hold a care package drive where boxes with various items including cookies are packed then sent via mail to deployed troops, according to Capt. Carly Omizo, incoming president of Hanscom's Company Grade Officers Council, one of the recipient organizations.

With the event set to begin at 9 a.m., Girl Scouts riding in cars decorated with patriotic fare braved the chilly morning and began arriving as early as 8:30 a.m. A team of more than 50 Hanscom volunteers -- comprising of Hanscom military and civilian personnel and dependents, students attending Airmen Leadership School, Civil Air Patrol cadets and area Junior ROTC cadets -- were waiting and ready to unload cookies from the scouts' cars to the vans, trunks and box trucks of the delivery organizations parked in the large lot adjacent to the Hanscom Tickets and Tours building and the Tennis Bubble.

The 66th Security Forces Squadron also played a key role in coordinating base access as well as providing traffic control in and around the area for a safe event.

"We were happy to do it," said Staff Sgt. Scott Roy, a security forces flight chief. "Our squadron always has people deployed, so anything to help them feel supported is something our home unit will always do."

The scouts came from as far as Cape Cod and the New Hampshire border, said Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts CEO Ruth Bramson.

As the cars full of scouts and cookies parked, volunteers from Hanscom unloaded the cookies and delivered them across the parking lot to organizations such as the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans, Helping Our Troops and USO New England.

After the cookies were packed up, Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Williams, Electronic Systems Center command chief, spoke to the scouts about the military's appreciation of their efforts to help the troops and leadership.

"I wanted to make sure they knew they are supported by the base and military leadership around the world," he said. "I've been connected to the Girl Scouts from a very young age since my sisters were Girl Scouts so I know what kind of leaders these young girls will become."

Captain Omizo echoed Chief Williams' sentiment about the scouts and their leadership potential, since she spoke to some of the girls during the event.

"When you think military, you automatically think of men serving the country or often being deployed, but I think it's good for young girls and young women to see that there are women that are out there leading, improving and protecting our country."

Ms. Bramson also spoke to the scouts, military personnel, volunteers and delivery organization representatives.

"What I got across to the Girl Scouts is that we build them into leaders who have courage, confidence and character to make the world a better place and there are no better role models than the troops we have here at the base and all over the world."

She also thanked the scouts for selling 30,000 boxes of cookies and Dunkin Donuts for donating 1,000 pounds of coffee.

"Everybody loves this event and we're so proud to do it."

Seventh graders Brenna and Katelyn, both from the Girl Scout troop in Ashland, Mass., were impressed at the volume of cookies their fellow scouts had sold and donated.

"It feels good to know we sold some of the cookies that are here now," said Katelyn.

Like many other troops, the Ashland troop writes a note on each box that the military troop can read. There was even an occasion when a soldier was in rehabilitation last year, said Brenna's mom, Deb, and received a box from the Ashland Girl Scouts and sent a thank you note back to them.

"So it's a good feeling for everyone," she said.

The event is part of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts' annual Cookies for a Cause program. Girl Scout troops choose the agencies that arrive at Hanscom during the event to receive the cookies as their charitable organizations in their area and asked cookie buyers to by extra boxes for troops abroad.

The other recipient organizations in attendance who pledged to send the cookies to the troops were the Rhode Island USO, the Rhode Island National Guard's 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion, Operation Troop Support, the Bedford Veterans Affairs Hospital, the Massachusetts National Guard, the Naval War College and the Hanscom Airman and Family Readiness Center.

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