BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (April 22, 2014) – Throughout America, Girl Scouts have been selling cookies to send to deployed troops in a program they call, “Operation Cookie.”
Girl Scout Troop #50469, in Moon Township, Pa., spent three weekends selling cookies for U.S. Army Maj. Matthew Starsnic and the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) Soldiers deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, during their own operation: Troop Gifts of Caring.
U.S. Army Maj. Matthew Starsnic (center) poses with fellow 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) Soldiers: Chief Warrant Officer 3 Andrea Ebanks-Joyner, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ron Johnson, Capt. Matthew Gowens, and Spc. Blake Anderson, surrounded with Girl Scout cookies, at Bagram Air Field, April 18, 2014. Girl Scout Troop #50469, of Moon Township, Pa., donated 240 boxes of cookies to 10th Mountain Division deployed troops through their Operation Sweet Appreciation. (U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Kap Kim)
The start of their annual Girl Scout cookie sale coincided with the deployment of the 10th Mtn. Div. Troop leaders Kelly Burgan, Beth Koishal and Maranda Wisniewski, decided that they would send cookies to the Soldiers to show their support.
“We showed the girls pictures of Matt and his family and talked to them about what a long deployment can be like for Soldiers and their Families,” said Burgan. “The girls planned to ask each cookie customer to donate a box of cookies to the Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division.”
As part of the operation, the scouts offered their customers an option to buy a box for deployed troops; Customers bought 240 boxes. They accumulated so many cookies that the shipping costs became a real issue. That problem was resolved by generous personal donations from members of the Greensburg Knights of Columbus and the Keystone Rod and Gun Club. Club members from these organizations gladly pitched in to cover their shipping costs.
Nine-year-old Charlotte Burgan, Starsnic's niece, and her fellow scouts stood outside a Moon Township department store asking customers if they wanted to buy cookies, or if they wanted to buy a box for a deployed Soldier.
"Would you like to donate a box of cookies to the Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division? They are on duty in Afghanistan,” was Charlotte and other scouts' sales pitch to their potential buyers.
“We thought that this option, physically taking charge of the cookies, would help the girls to have a better understanding of how our donations worked and who they helped,” said Burgan.
Starsnic, who is from Pittsburgh, serves as a plans officer in 10th Mtn. Div. Years ago, he served with Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ron Johnson, in Battery B, 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment (Multiple Launch Rocket System) in Kuwait. Then, Starsnic was a battery operations and a fire directions officer and Johnson was a survey noncommissioned officer. Through three more deployments with different units, both ended up assigned to the 10th Mountain Div.'s Headquarters and deployed again in Afghanistan.
Kelly, Starsnic's sister-in-law, sent a care package to Johnson during his last deployment, but it never arrived. So, this time, she and the rest of the troop decided to send him what never got to him last time, and in turn, Starsnic and Johnson decided to spread the wealth and the calories to the rest of their unit.
“I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the Girl Scouts to make our day a little brighter,” Starsnic said. “Soldiers from every section of the Mountain Division have been appreciative of the cookies.”
Starsnic, Johnson and few other Soldiers helped put the boxes of cookies, with personal notes attached, for the other Soldiers in the headquarters. It took less than an hour, all the cookies were gone.
By U.S. Army Master Sgt. Kap Kim
Provided through DVIDS
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