NEWINGTON - Over 100,000 Girl Scout cookies were delivered to the VA Medical Center Wednesday.
Totaling 424 cases, the shipments arrived with U.S. Marine Robert Hyde, running for U.S. Senate in Connecticut in 2022; Justin Anderson, Connecticut Army National Guard veteran and a candidate in the state’s 2nd Congressional District in 2020 and John Cain, a U.S. Navy lieutenant running for Massachusetts’ 1st Congressional District seat in 2020.
“The Girl Scouts of America sent us on a mission,” said Hyde.
Volunteers from the VA’s Summer Youth Program collected cases of cookies, taking some into the hospital and piling even more into a service van to deploy to veterans across the state.
They are destined for consumption by people served at the VA’s West Haven Campus, the Hartford Vet Center in Rocky Hill, New Haven Vet Center in Orange and at Community-Based Outpatient Clinics, known as C-BOCs.
“The vets just love ‘em,” Mark Frazee, chief of volunteer services, said. “Just look at how many people are benefiting from this - the veterans, the Girl Scouts, the kids helping today. ... It’s good all around.”
Anderson has been a Connecticut National Guardsman for more than 30 years and has been deployed overseas four times since Sept. 11, 2001.
“I was lucky enough to walk away from combat a few times just fine, but a lot of these guys here weren’t that lucky,” he said, looking up at the tall brick hospital building above the loading dock.
The East Haddam resident went on to joke about the impact so many cookies could have on the state’s hardworking veterans.
“We have very good soldiers in Connecticut - some of the best,” he pointed out. “What we don’t want is a bunch of diabetic, overweight veterans walking around a month from now, so hopefully they hand some of these cookies out to kids that come visit.”
Voluntary Service Spc. Pam Moran runs the youth program, which saw over 250 participants between the Newington and West Haven VA campuses this year.
“The kids did a great job,” Moran said as youths piled boxes onto carts and pushed them up the loading dock. “We’re going to miss them when they go back to school.”
Wednesday’s delivery was an opportunity for the political hopefuls to get their names and faces out there on the campaign trail, and also to do a little good, serving fellow servicemen.
“I was a Navy lieutenant and an Eagle Scout,” Cain said. “There’s a close connection between veterans and scouting. My daughter’s a Girl Scout now.”
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.