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March 1, 2011

The way to his heart

Girl Scout cookies a big hit with sergeant serving overseas

DANVERS — Sgt. David Richey is one tough cookie.

He's a drill sergeant with the Army Reserve, serving with Detachment 62, 95th Division in Afghanistan, where he is helping mentor members of the Afghan National Army.

But when Richey, a Princeton, Ky., resident, received a box of Girl Scout cookies — with a heart on it — as he was deploying overseas, it made him smile. So he tucked the heart inside his wallet, where it remains today.

The box of Lemonades came from Danvers Girl Scout Troop 843, and it also carried the name and address of the troop and a big "thank you."

To show his appreciation, Richey sent the Girl Scouts a letter along with a flag that was flown over Camp Alamo, Afghanistan, on Veterans Day 2010. The flag had also been flown on top of "the Ghar," a rocky mountain outside of Kabul.

The Girl Scouts got the flag a few weeks ago, and they have been buzzing about it ever since.

"Awesome," said Ashley Tardiff, 14, who said she has never seen a flag that has flown over Afghanistan before, and she is glad she and other Scouts have made a difference in a soldier's life.

The flag represented a thank-you not only from Richey, but from other soldiers who were moved by what the Girl Scouts did.

"I sent the flag because so many people think the soldiers are the only ones fighting this war, but I know different," Richey wrote in an e-mail on Feb. 24 from Afghanistan.

"As I sit here thinking why I sent the flag, I remember the feeling I got when I was given the box of cookies. Just that little box with a heart and an address let me know I was not alone. I have Troop 843 with me."

While the Girl Scouts have gotten letters from servicemen and servicewomen in the past, they said the flag was by far the neatest thing they have ever received.

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