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Kelly Sassaman earns Girl Scout Gold Award by honoring local veterans

by Anthony DiMattia

A Neshaminy High School junior has achieved the highest honor for a Girl Scout. Kelly Sassaman, 16, of the Highland Park section of Levittown, recently earned the Gold Award for honoring local veterans by donating shadowboxes she built with retired flags and metal plaques to area VFW posts.

“I always wanted to honor veterans and let them know they are not forgotten and that we appreciate all they have done for our country and community,” Kelly said.

Now in her ninth year in the Girl Scouts, Kelly worked 80 hours on her project to secure the Gold Award.

“I knew since I joined Girl Scouts in the third grade that I wanted to earn my Gold Award,” she said. “It is something I have been working towards since I was little. I earned my Bronze and Silver, and now my Gold.”

Kelly got the idea during a Girl Scout meeting when the group was tasked with cutting stars and placing them into little baggies with a saying on a piece of paper.

Texas resident Esther Wolfer started this tradition to honor veterans and service members as well as the memory of her son, Major Stuart Adam Wolfer, who was killed in 2008 during a mortar attack in Baghdad, Iraq.

The saying reads, “I am a part of our American flag. I have flown over a home in the USA but I can no longer fly. I have been retired because the sun and the wind have caused me to become tattered and torn. Please keep me as a reminder that you are not forgotten.”

During this task, Kelly decided she would expand on the idea to incorporate Esther’s words into her shadowboxes.

Kelly then met with the commanders of the VFW #6393, American Legion #317 and its auxiliary post in Yardley, which all gave their approval.

With the help of her fellow Girls Scouts, Kelly was able to complete the project by presenting more than 50 plaques to veterans of the posts and to two local nursing homes following the Veterans Day parade in Yardley on November 11th.

In addition, Kelly created brochures describing the proper flag etiquette and protocol, which were handed out during the Lower Makefield Township Veterans Day Parade on Sunday, November 12th.

Kelly said the project gave her better time management and communication skills.

“It is a very large project and took more than 80 hours of my time,” she said. “I also had a team of more than 10 people helping me so I had to make sure I scheduled work sessions and communicated clearly with people so we would get everything done by Veterans Day.”

The project was a perfect fit for Kelly, Girl Scout leader Marah Walsh said.

“Kelly has always wanted to do something to honor local veterans and when she saw what Esther Wolfer was doing for her son, it was like a light bulb went off for her,” Marah said. “She wanted to expand on this project and honor our veterans on Veterans Day.”

 PHOTO CAP: Kelly Sassaman (left) presenting a shadowbox to Candy Carver, Finance Officer of the American Legion #317 at the Veteran’s Day Luncheon held at VFW Post 6393.