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thedrifter
04-05-06, 08:01 AM
Girl Scouts ship yummy treats to Marines
Marine mom who shipped cookies has son stationed in North Carolina.

By Ryan Heath
Ryan.Heath@Topics.com
April 6, 2006

FISHERS -- Life recently got a little sweeter for several Indiana Marines.

Girl Scout Troop 1916 in Fishers donated about 180 boxes of Girl Scout cookies March 20 to a local Marine mom who then shipped the cookies to Hoosier Marines stationed on both U.S. coasts and Iraq.

"They're being well fed, our Marines," said Joyce Crowder, mother of 19-year-old Brad Scirff, a Marine stationed at Cherry Point, N.C., who will be deployed to Iraq in July.

The relationship between Crowder and the Girl Scouts began at a local orthodontist's office. Melissa Bingham, the Girl Scouts troop leader overheard Crowder telling the receptionist about her son being deployed. The troop needed a charitable project, and the rest is history.

In December, the troop of Brooks School Elementary second-graders sent 100 Christmas cards to Scirff and other Marines, Bingham said. When Scirff replied with a thank-you note, the girls decided to adopt him.

The girls included a signed poem with the cookies, and made about 50 Easter baskets filled with candy to send to the troops. They also plan to send toiletry bags to Scirff when he goes to Iraq this summer, Bingham said.

"It's humbling that a group of young people like this are so enthused about our military and our son in particular," Crowder said. "I would never have thought that they would continue with all of these projects for my son."

Crowder and her husband Terry started a Marine parent support group that meets monthly. They also created a Web site, www.usmcfamilies.com, dedicated to connecting Marine families. They've distributed the Girl Scouts' items through this organization to other Indiana families, who send them to sons or daughters.

To ensure the public doesn't forget about the Marines, the group organized a rally on Monument Circle in Indianapolis in October. The Girl Scouts will get involved in another rally this fall by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

"They are true American heroes," Crowder said of Troop 1916. "Not only are they supporting our troops, but they're sending a message that sometimes gets lost in the media these days.

"They're little girls, but they have big voices," she added.

Her son is scheduled to return home for a week in May and Crowder hopes to have a party so he can meet his Girl Scout beneficiaries.

"It's fun," she said. "It keeps me distracted from what my son is up to and what he's going into. It's just good to know that other people care about him, too."

Call staff writer Ryan Heath at (317) 444-5575.

Ellie