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Remembering the fallen: Girl Scouts fund raise for veteran headstones

A local Girl Scouts troop did its part to honor the fallen on Monday. Thanks to Mitchell Girl Scouts Troop 57005, which raised more than $5,500, the gravesites of three veterans will now have a "proper headstone" after more than a year of fundrai...

First Sgt. Dean Weiss and First Sgt. Chuck Eilts fold up a flag of the United States of America during a military flag folding ceremony on Monday morning in the Mitchell Cemetery. (Matt Gade / Republic)
First Sgt. Dean Weiss and First Sgt. Chuck Eilts fold up a flag of the United States of America during a military flag folding ceremony on Monday morning in the Mitchell Cemetery. (Matt Gade / Republic)

A local Girl Scouts troop did its part to honor the fallen on Monday.

Thanks to Mitchell Girl Scouts Troop 57005, which raised more than $5,500, the gravesites of three veterans will now have a "proper headstone" after more than a year of fundraising.

Last October, the troop kicked off a fundraiser to raise at least $1,000 for a headstone of a late veteran, who had died more than 80 years ago. The veteran was one of countless who did not have a large headstone marking their grave at the Mitchell Cemetery, according to Debbie Emme, leader of Girl Scouts 57005.

And with donations from area businesses, community members and the national Ms. Veteran America, the scouts raised five times their goal, Emme said.

On Monday morning, despite the cold, the troop held a ceremony honoring the three fallen veterans and their newly placed headstones in Mitchell. With each headstone costing roughly $700, the scouts have money left over and plan to purchase more gravestones.

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"I'm very proud of the girls," Emme said. "We're going to continue to do what we got to do and we're going to challenge other service organizations to try to do same thing. I guarantee there's others (veterans) in other towns."

Emme, who also works at Davison County Veteran's Service Office, said the idea began when it was discovered several gravestones of military members in the Mitchell Cemetery didn't have a headstones, but instead a small marker. And so the Girl Scouts sought to change that, with a plan to purchase larger, more prominent headstones.

And their work didn't go unnoticed. U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem sent a letter and representative to thank the Girl Scouts for their work, adding the late veterans will now be "remembered long into the future."

The work of the Girl Scouts isn't done yet, and Emme said donations will still be accepted to help fund for more gravestones. Anybody interested in donating can do so at Shafer Memorials in Mitchell.

Related Topics: VETERANS
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