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Volunteers send Girl Scout cookies to troops in Iraq

DACULA

More than 6,000 miles and a war can't keep Georgia troops stationed in Iraq from enjoying Girl Scout cookies. Dacula-based Brownie troop No. 1687 won't let that happen.

More than 150 boxes of Trefoils, Thin Mints, Samoas and Tagalongs will reach a Marine unit stationed in Iraq in a few weeks thanks to the 10 first- and second- graders in Debby Tumillo's Brownie troop.

"I think they'll like the Cafe cookies the best because they're more for grown-ups," said 8-year-old Dawn Tumillo, one of the Brownies who went door to door in the neighborhood and asked for people to donate a box or two of cookies for the troops.

"My favorite cookies are the Thin Mints. I can't figure out if it's the chocolate that's minty or the mint that's chocolaty," she said.

The girls have been collecting donations since January and have amassed an entire kitchen table of boxes. At their troop meeting last week they hovered around Tumillo's table arranging the boxes in various categories and then rearranging them. They will be shipped off this week.

Originally the boxes were to be sent to the specific Marine unit where Chris Todd, a Dacula resident, is stationed. However, Todd's unit will be coming home from their overseas station in a few weeks, said Todd's mother, Angela Todd.

"We can find out the specific unit that is replacing them and just send them the cookies instead and save a few boxes for Chris, since that is who the cookies were originally for anyway," Todd said.

Todd said she was overwhelmed at the girls'

generosity.

"I am constantly amazed at what people do for the troops," she said.

Troop leader Tumillo said the cookie donations were born out of good 'ol American patriotism.

"My husband and I are very patriotic," Tumillo said. "When we were thinking of what to do for a community service project we thought who would appreciate it and we thought of the troops. When we mentioned it to the girls and they were all for it. The kids are patriotic, too."

Jennifer Wade said when she took her daughter, Savannah, out to sell cookies and ask for donations the response was positive.

"People liked the idea of being able to make the contribution to the military. People e-mailed Debby (Tumillo) and also people offered checks for the troops," she said.

Tumillo said scouting is about doing more than just fun things. It's about learning values and how to make the world a better place. In the past the girls have written to the troops but during this year's cookie season Tumillo said she began asking people who declined cookies if they'd like to donate a box to the troops.

"We did it last year and donated 30 boxes, but this year it's just snowballed," she said.

Once the box reaches the soldiers overseas they will find not only an assortment of Girl Scout cookies, but hand-written notes from the Brownies.

Eight-year-old Dawn's note was written in pencil on Girl Scout stationary and reads: "We are sending you cookies because we know you work hard and we appreciate you. Enjoy the Girl Scout cookies. Thank you for being brave. We appreciate you protecting our country. Be safe but most of all have fun. Good luck."