AIR FORCE SERGEANT VISITS GIRL SCOUT OFFICE TO OFFER THANKS FOR COOKIES SENT OVERSEAS by Jean Havens
November 28, 2012, Pleasantville, NY — A recent visit to the headquarters of Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson (GSHH) provided a walk down Memory Lane for Air Force Tech Sergeant Kim Overturf as she recalled her Girl Scout days in Mahopac as well as summer days at the Girl Scouts’ Rock Hill Camp. But mostly she remembered Girl Scout cookies.
The reason for her visit to the main office of the six-county council was to give thanks in person for the cases of Girl Scout cookies shipped overseas by GSHH as part of its annual Operation Cookie Drop program.
Overturf was based in Afghanistan with the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing when she first encountered the donated Girl Scout cookies shipped from the Hudson Valley area. Anyone from her unit who was from New York State was especially proud and thrilled to receive a little taste of home in the form of Thin Mints or Trefoils.
“We had to freeze the cookies,” she recalls. “Otherwise they’d stick together and guys would eat more than their share — like the whole box!” Rationing the cookies made sure that everyone got to enjoy the sweet treats.
“Not even the general gets a whole box,” Overturf explained. However, soldiers head- ing out on missions were given that special privilege.
In addition, colorful cards featuring messages of encouragement and support were cre- ated by Girl Scouts and included with the boxes of cookies. The handcrafted notes, sometimes written in crayon, have been a bonus for military servicemen and women deployed far from home. “We saved every single one,” Overturf said, “Smoothing out the wrinkles and posting them on our bulletin boards.”
Operation Cookie Drop Volunteer Coordinator Alison Bergman of Ardsley was on hand to hear of the impact that the over 56,000 boxes of donated cookies, packed and shipped in June 2012, had throughout the military community. The thank-you letters and photos that Bergman has received from bases in places such as Kuwait, Afghanistan and Pakistan are a heartwarming affirmation of the value of the program.
In addition to her thanks, Overturf presented the Girl Scout council with an American
flag that was flown on September 11 of this year in a C-130 aircraft on a mission from Bagram Airfield, Camp Cunningham, Afghanistan.
Overturf, 31, who enlisted right after high school, is currently based in Guam with the 36th Wing at Andersen Air Force Base. Previously, she’s been stationed in Alaska, at Bagram and Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan, and briefly in Kyrgyzstan (where the rustic transient hous- ing reminded her of Girl Scout camp!). As an E-6 tech sergeant, she works with incoming air- craft, confirming what passengers and cargo they’re carrying, and guiding them in to a smooth landing.
Overturf credits Girl Scouting with giving her the leadership skills she uses every day in the Air Force. “Our troop leader encouraged us to think outside the box,” she recalls. “We learned that you can do anything with nothing.”
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