Making spirits 'Bright' is her Destiny

Destiny Bright had a mission last year to help the troops in Iraq. She wanted to let them know that they were remembered and appreciated. Being 8 years old was not going to deter the spunky Girl Scout.

When the '07 cookie season launched, Destiny set a goal to not only sell cookies to her friends and neighbors, but to send the American favorites to troops serving overseas. She accomplished her goal in stunning style that resulted in her selling 2,114 boxes of cookies and sending 1,000 of them to the troops.

Destiny is a student at La Crescenta Elementary and a scout in Troop #932. Out of the 13 girls in her troop, she was able to sell the most boxes of cookies.

“I really wanted to sell cookies because my dad and our family friend were in the military,” said Destiny.

The cookie project started two years ago when Troop #932 decided to take their annual cookie sales and team up with Operation Gratitude to send donated boxes to the troops serving in the military. All of the girls were enthusiastic about being able to bring some joy to the service men and women.

“We all participate in selling Girl Scout cookies; we work as a team,” said Debbie Bright, Destiny's mom and the troop's leader for four years.

However, it was Destiny's devotion to the Operation Gratitude program that made her work so rigorously to achieve her goal, doubling her previous year's donation from 500 to 1,000 boxes.

“The first year she sold 2,011 with 500 going to the troops [through Operation Gratitude], and last year her goal doubled to 1,000 cookies for Operation Gratitude,” said Debbie.

Destiny had a solid strategy to achieve this goal that evolved from a simple question asked of her grandmother.

“I asked my grandma if she wanted to buy some cookies, [and] she said no,” remembered Destiny. “And I then asked if she would like to buy some for the troops and she said yes.” Armed with this simple question, she went to the street. She asked door-to-door and approached each person who entered the supermarket if they would like to buy cookies or donate a box to the troops.

If people did not have sufficient money to buy a box for the soldiers, they could donate what they had to a fund that the Girl Scouts could combine with other cash donations to buy additional boxes.

However, the hard work didn't end there as Destiny and her mother made other attempts to sell even more boxes.

“We wrote some e-mails about what cookies we had because some of our friends and family live far away, and they'd respond with which cookie they wanted. If there was no response, we'd make a phone call,” said Destiny.

With the boxes ready to be sent, Destiny and her mother made special stickers for the troops to be placed on each box.

“We put a sticker with our e-mail address, [home] address, and my mom's cellphone number, with an American flag that said 'God Bless America, Thank you for protecting us,'” said Destiny.

Destiny's dedication to selling cookies did not go unnoticed.

Along with her cookie selling success, Destiny was awarded a trophy and a $1,500 college scholarship. However, it wasn't just the awards that brought a tear to both Destiny and her mother, but the gratitude expressed by the soldiers.

CPT Brad Howard sent Destiny and her mother a letter of thanks. The letter included pictures of a group of soldiers holding a folded red, white, and blue American flag that had been placed in their aircraft in her honor.

“I feel really special; I was not expecting this letter to be sent,” said Destiny.

Howard told Destiny that she had “definitely earned a place in our hearts and in the unit,” and described the reaction of the soldiers by saying that, “I can't tell you the number of times I've seen a box of Girl Scout cookies get opened in our office and the guys just start talking about being back home and spending time with family.”

The letter was not the only treasure that Destiny received. Accompanying the correspondence was a package. Inside was the flag depicted in the picture, a certificate indicating that the flag was flown over Iraq during a combat mission, and lastly, unit patches for everyone in Troop #932.

Now that the 2008 cookie season has begun, Destiny is working hard at selling cookies. She has already sold more than 1,100 boxes.

“I want to achieve [sales of] 2,500 boxes of cookies and send 1,500 to the troops. I want to send 500 more each year,” she said.

Selling cookies is not her only means of helping the troops. It is her hope that Girl Scouts can make crafts for them as well.

As her name indicates, it is Miss Bright's “destiny” to become a memorable figure, not only in her CV community but to an untold number of military personnel enjoying a tasty bit of home.


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