BANGOR, Maine — Though many of the troops that passed through Bangor International Airport on Friday evening had been through the troop greeter experience before, none had ever been handed a box of Girl Scout Cookies.
“This is a first,” said Army Sgt. Major Craig Cannon, of Fort Dix, N.J., one of several hundred service members who passed through Bangor International Airport Friday en route to the Middle East.
Cannon wasn’t referring to the handshakes, hugs, thumbs ups, salutes and high-fives being doled out by the Maine Troop Greeters. He had experienced those on his way home from a deployment in 2007.
He was talking about the cookies being handed out by uniformed Daisy Scouts.
Cannon was among those who were given boxes of Girl Scout Cookies on Friday, compliments of Daisy Troop 129 of Hampden.
“It’s awesome to see the support of the troops,” he said. “It almost brings tears to your eyes.”
The Hampden Daisy Troop consists of a dozen 6- and 7-year-old girls who are in first grade at the Earl C. McGraw School. Only five could make it Friday night, however, because of a flu bug that’s been going around, according to Bonnie Quesnel, one of the troop mothers.
Quesnel said the group checked with the airport and troop greeters and was told they needed to bring at least 350 boxes because troop flights range from 150 to 350 passengers. The group, with the help of many supporters, raised enough money to buy 460 boxes of the top three selling Girl Scout Cookie varieties — Peanut Butter Patties, Thin Mints and Caramel deLites, formerly called Samoas.
Jill Cramm, another troop mother, said the idea for the project came to her after she saw, “The Way We Get By,” a documentary about the troop greeters who work out of BIA.
“We watched it as a family and I really got to thinking, ‘What can we do to help the troop greeters?’” Cramm said.
Dr. David Harford of Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, was first in line for a box of cookies.
“I’ll have a Thin Mint, please,” he said with a huge grin.
“I have three daughters who are Girl Scouts,” he said after receiving a box of the chocolate-covered mint-flavored cookies.
Harford said two of his daughters are enrolled in the organization now and a third daughter, now a teenager, is a former member.
On Friday, it was clear that the girls knew why they were handing cookies out to troops at BIA:
“Because they’re taking care of the country and we love them all because they’re nice,” said Samantha Cramm, 6.
“Because the soldiers protect our country and they fight a lot and I hope they can come home,” said Mary Landry, 6.
“We’re giving cookies to the soldiers and they’re bringing them with them,” said Samantha Quesnel, 6.
“To pass out cookies to the soldiers because they are saving our lives and making us live longer,” said Suzanne Webb, 7.
“Because we wanted them to come home,” added Ryleigh Jones, 6.
Ryleigh’s brother, Jarrett Jones, an 8-year-old member of Hampden’s Cub Scout Pack 41, also helped hand out cookies.