Brownie Troop #433 adopts SFC Harry Young of Lake Airel as he prepares to be deployed to Afghanistan.

Sergeant First Class (SFC) Harry Young of Lake Ariel deploys to Afghanistan in February, but not without knowing he’s been adopted by  Brownie Troop #433, based in Honesdale.

A National Guardsman with the 1st Battalion Heavy 109th Infantry Regiment in Honesdale, SFC Young spent Thursday afternoon talking to the Brownies, answering their questions, and exchanging gifts. Along with homemade chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate with marshmallows, the troop gave him a four-leaf clover keepsake to take on his tour of duty.

The troop has adopted soldiers in past, but none right from the area, said leader Jennifer Fountain. “Our last two adoptive soldiers were from Wisconsin ...and they’re actually on their way home from Iraq now, or they came before Christmas,” she said. “Our adoptive soldier that we had in the Daisy Troop last year was from south of Pittsburgh. So, the girls really didn’t get a chance to meet their adoptive soldiers. And when this National Guard Unit here was called up, we thought that it would be nice if the girls could meet before they leave. Then, they would have a picture of them with the soldier in it ... They’re knowing who they’re sending the stuff to (cards and care packages) and they actually make a stronger connection.”

Members of Brownie Troop # 433, numbering 12 strong, are all interested in the kids over-seas. “Everybody wanted to know what the little kids ...what they’re doing over there. They’re (the Brownies are) six and seven year-olds and they’re already asking about the other children, what the other children are like. Is there fighting around the children? And again, what their living conditions are like,” said Troop Leader Cindy Blair of Honesdale. “I’m just very grateful for the opportunity he’s giving us and I think it’ll be great for the girls. And we just can’t wait to see him on a safe return.” Cindy says they’ll correspond with SFC Young the entire time he’s in Afghanistan. They’ll be sending him little pieces of home. “Little things that you don’t think of. Leaves. We send them right before their peak, so by the time they get over there, they’re going to see leaves and they won’t have leaves over there ...Candy and the food is great, of course,” she said, but it’s the little things they miss the most. “I know there was troop that actually sent snow.

They pre-packaged it and got it over there in time. I know it’s only a box of snow, but you know it, when you’re over there and you’re alone ...” Cindy has a heart for soldiers, based on her brother, Bill Fasceski of Honesdale, a full-time National Guardsman, out of Scranton. She’s proud of her brother who’s completed a tour of duty in Iraq.

Of her Brownie Troop, Cindy says, “This is our Country and I think it’s very important to teach these kids to be patriotic. That seems to go by the wayside anymore. This way, if they know and they can see the people, and they can understand it a little bit more, especially ...being hometown. And there are so many people around here that their family members are going overseas.”   

Fifteen-year-old Whitney Young loves her dad, so seeing him leave for an entire year is hard. But she also knows who he is and what he stands and that mission makes it easier. “I can’t be selfish,” she says, “but, I can’t wait till he gets back.”

She’s learned a lot, she says, from her dad, including, “Treat people the way you want to be treated ...Think about what you say before you say it,” she said.  “I’m really going to miss him. I’ve cried already, because I wasn’t supposed to know about it till later (his deployment) ...He’s just a really, all-around, good guy. He’s doing it for the best.”