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48th Guardsmen to get gift from Girl Scouts

Local Scouts put together flag packets at Armory

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48th Guardsmen to get gift from Girl Scouts

Girl Scout Holli Browning looks over some of the flag packets she helped stuff Monday at the Statesboro National Guard Armory.

      A clear plastic packet with a brief message and a miniature American flag folded inside will accompany soldiers from the Statesboro-based 48th Brigade Special Troops Battalion when they deploy to Afghanistan in June. And each packet was put together by a Statesboro-area Girl Scout.
      Earlier this week, several scouts from the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia gathered at the National Guard Armory on Hwy 301 North to fold the flags and then place them inside the packets.
      "We thought it was a great way for our scouts to help our troops in a small way and let them know we care," said Amanda Lienhard, a membership director with Region 3 in Statesboro. "It's part of the national Pocket Flag Project."
      The Pocket Flag Project was started in 2001 and hundreds of thousands of flag packets have been given to troops.
      The 48th Battalion is part of the Georgia Army National Guard's 48th Infantry Brigade. The approximately 300 National Guardsmen who are part of the Statesboro-based 48th are about 30 days into 45 days of training at Fort Stewart in Hinesville.
      The battalion will head to Afghanistan for 10 months some time in June 2009 and is expected to return in April or May 2010. In Afghanistan, the 48th will be charged with training soldiers in the Afghan National Army.
      At the Armory, the girls folded each flag according to military protocol - end to end, finishing in a triangle with only the stars of the flag showing. They then put the flag and the message into the packet.
      The message reads:
      "A flag for your pocket so you can always carry a little piece of home. We are praying for you and we are proud of you. Thank you for defending our country and our freedom.
- Presented by Girl Scouts (Statesboro, GA)"

      The flag packets will be delivered to the battalion at Fort Stewart on April 18.
      Caitlin Akins, a fourth-grader at Sallie Zetterower, said she thought the packet
would be a comfort to the Guardsmen.
      "I think when they're alone in Afghanistan, they can reach inside their pocket and not be so lonely," she said. "They'll know we're thinking about them."
      Anyone interested in joining the Girl Scouts can call Tiffany Connolly at (912) 489-3269.

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