By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Jackie Forman and Eliana Greenstein Himle of Girl Scout Troop 72855, both freshmen at Marlborough High School, have participated in the city’s Veterans Day and Memorial Day parades since they joined the Girl Scout program as Daisies. While brainstorming ideas for their Girl Scout Silver Award project, they realized that Women Veterans Park at the corner of Maple and Brigham streets wasn’t included in the holiday observances.
Beginning this Veterans Day and Memorial Day 2016, it will be recognized annually in a unique way, noted Sherri Greenstein Himle, their troop leader.
“The girls wanted to bring more recognition to that memorial and to honor all women veterans,” she said.
This was the mission they chose as their community service project toward earning a Silver Award, the highest national honor that a Girl Scout Cadette can earn. At least 50 service hours is required and the project must be sustainable after each Girl Scout’s involvement ends. Jackie and Eliana are now bridging to the Seniors level.
Originally, their goal was to extend the parade route to pass Women Veterans Park. After discussions with Veterans Agent Gary Brown, they discovered that it wasn’t feasible because it would add nearly a mile to the route. They altered their goal to displaying a replica of the park’s monument on the route at a speech site.
“Rather than bring the parade to the memorial, they’re bringing the memorial to the parade,” Greenstein Himle explained.
Jackie and Eliana created the replica with a wooden board cut in the shape of the monument attached to an easel. Other materials used were faux granite paint, foam lettering, and shellac for waterproofing. Duplicating the original monument, the replica includes military branch emblems.
The replica also features the same inscription: “This hallowed ground is dedicated to women who served in all branches of our armed services through our wars and conflicts. The grateful citizens of Marlborough recognize the sacrifice of their service.”
In an effort to gain public support for their idea, Jackie and Eliana held PowerPoint presentations with several Marlborough organizations. They also participated in the Massachusetts Conference for Women Veterans in June at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlborough. Through these presentations, they learned that many Marlborough residents were unaware of Women Veterans Park.
“The Colonial Garden Club takes care of it and it looks very nice, but it doesn’t seem to get a lot of recognition,” Greenstein Himle said.
In June 2011, the Colonial Garden Club of Marlborough hosted a dedication ceremony for the Blue Star Memorial By-Way in Women Veterans Park. The local garden club is a chapter of National Garden Clubs, which is committed to placing Blue Star Memorial markers in parks that honor U.S. armed forces. The park is maintained by the local garden club in conjunction with the Department of Public Works.
Jackie and Eliana made their final presentation Sept. 10 at a parade committee meeting when the Silver Award project was on the agenda. Later that evening, their troop leader was pleased to receive a call from Wayne Stanley, president of the Veterans Council and commander of Disabled American Veterans Chapter 82. He informed her that the Girl Scouts’ idea was approved.
“I’m not sure if the girls fully grasp that they’re bringing so much more awareness to the women veterans’ memorial than was originally there,” Greenstein Himle said.
On Wednesday, Nov. 11, their replica of the monument in Women Veterans Park will be displayed and decorated with a wreath at the Doughboy Monument, where the city’s Veterans Day parade concludes.