Local Girl Scout troop hands out over 1,000 boxes of cookies to firefighters
Girl Scouts give back to firefighters in small way with big impact
–Approximately 1,080 boxes of cookies were given out to the many firefighters currently fighting against the Chimney fire near Lake Nacimiento by a small troop of girl scouts based in Atascadero. The Girl Scout Cadets, led by troop leader Jeanne Gard, consist of fifth and sixth grade girls from around North County. The girls came early Sunday morning, Aug. 21 to the Paso Robles fairgrounds. This serves as the current base camp to nearly 3,000 firefighters: some local, others from as far as New Mexico or Arizona. The girls’ original plan was to simply drop off a few boxes for the firefighters as they headed off for another twelve-hour shift of pushing back the blaze, but what actually happened was something much more meaningful.
According to troop leader Gard, the firefighters were still at the fairgrounds (unlike how the original plan had intended) and thus, the girls were able to pass out the boxes of girl scout cookies in person. From there, the whole project spiraled into a frenzy of cookie giving as the small troop emptied approximately ninety cases of cookie boxes (with twelve boxes in each case) into the hands and trucks of the many firefighters heading off for the long day ahead. Gard even reported seeing one of her troop moms standing in the middle of the street throwing boxes upon boxes of cookies into the open windows of both passing firetrucks and cars alike. The cookies were a gift from the troop to the firefighters, and they solicited no donations from the public.
The firemen’s appreciation made the girls want to continue to stand and hand out their cookies themselves. Seeing that the girls were enjoying their time, one of the firemen’s public realtions officers offered them a tour around the fair in order to see what exactly the men and women who were staying there did when they were not out fighting fires. Their guide gladly agreed and showed them around what Gard described as a small “city” where the firefighters ate, slept, and debriefed. The girls were fascinated by the many trailers used as rooms for maps, first aid, and sleeping quarters that could fit approximately forty-five people each.
Gard said she was very grateful for the experience, saying that it taught her troop an important lesson: they could be anything they wanted to be. Having seen not only male but female firefighters going out into harm’s way for the protection of others. “Just doing small things like giving a firefighter a box of cookies can encourage them as they risk their lives, and their time with their families to protect ours,” Gard said. “It’s fascinating how such a small event can snowball into something so big.” The work of this troop is one of a few ways the community has rallied around its firefighters as they continue to fight to keep Californians safe.