Parkwood Sophomore Strives for Girl Scout Gold with USO Donations
Mallory Bittner’s grandfather was a child in 1941, living on Hickam Field during the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. When the Girl Scout visited him in Hawaii a few years ago, she heard his first hand account of life on the Air Force base. The experience heightened Mallory’s already growing passion to serve her country some day.
“The Armed Forces have always been near and dear to Mallory’s heart,” mother Jennifer Bittner explained.
Given her admiration, and with aspirations of joining the Coast Guard one day, it is perhaps not surprising that this Parkwood High School sophomore chose to honor the military by supporting the USO as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project. During an event organized with Memorial Day in mind on Saturday, May 21, the crowd gathered to listen to Col. Randy Powell speak about how much soldiers have benefited from USO support both here and abroad.
A Year in the Making
A year in the making, Mallory’s efforts included collecting water, soda and juice boxes for the USO of North Carolina’s Charlotte Douglas International Airport Center “The Gold Award is just like the Eagle Scout award,” Jennifer said. “It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to plan and lead it.”
Part of Mallory’s efforts included outreach and coordination efforts with both Waxhaw and Mineral Springs United Methodist churches, the American Legion, two local girl scout chapters as well as a boy scout chapter. She also dropped off more than 1800 donation bags on the doorsteps of homes across Union and Mecklenburg counties.
In all, Mallory collected 33 large cardboard boxes filled with these items. She baked over 500 chocolate chip cookies, and took the time to individually bag them, including a personal note of thanks to each soldier. Leaving no stone unturned and making sure no person felt left out, Mallory’s team even created 100 treat bags to deliver to children of military families.
“I thought this project would be a good way to show our support,” Mallory said. “To show them that people really do care and appreciate what they do.”
Reaping the Rewards
A scout for ten years, Mallory said she’s gained a lot from her experiences and encouraged younger scouts to stick with the program to reap its rewards. In addition to eye-opening adventure-filled trips that included overnight canoeing in the Florida Everglades, dog sledding in Minnesota and living on a schooner in Michigan, Mallory said she appreciates all she has learned and been able to achieve through scouts. “Scouting helps you build leadership talents, feel proud and good about yourself,” she explained. “I plan on staying in scouts until I graduate and may even become an adult scout.”