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Caitlin Dove's brother Jesse is stationed aboard USS Carter Hall
By Ben Orcutt -- firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Caitlin Dove and other local Girl Scouts are on a mission to send 1,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to her brother and his shipmates aboard the USS Carter Hall.
A 2009 graduate of Warren County High School, Jesse Dove, 19, went into the Navy in August of the same year and has been at sea since January 2010, according to his mother, Callie Dove.
"Jesse asked if we could send cookies to the ship," Mrs. Dove said. "So I went back and asked these girls [Caitlin's troop, 40573] and the other Girl Scout troops in Warren County if they would join us in our effort to send them."
Mrs. Dove said there are more than 30 Girl Scout troops in Warren County, and the majority of them are assisting in the effort, which is called the Gift of Caring.
A freshman at Skyline High School, 14-year-old Caitlin said Monday that her brother is excited about the girls' efforts, and she's excited as well. She said her brother's favorite cookie -- and hers as well -- is the Tagalong, which contains peanut butter topped with chocolate.
Caitlin said she communicates with her brother through Facebook.
Mrs. Dove said the family last communicated with Jesse at Christmas.
"But his last message was to tell the girls to really go out there and sell those cookies because they were going to make him a real popular fellow on the ship," Mrs. Dove said.
According to the ship's website, it is based in Little Creek Amphibious Base in Virginia Beach and is now serving in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
On Monday, Caitlin and two of her fellow Girl Scouts members were making the rounds on Main Street, trying to convince merchants to purchase cookies for the cause.
"I think it's good because they do a lot for us so we could do something for them," said Katie Bowers, 15, also a freshman at Skyline High School.
Brooklyn Chunn, 14, another Skyline freshman, agreed.
"It's kind of the same thing Katie just said because they do so much for us so we can do something for them, too," Brooklyn said. "That's a lot of cookies to send over there, but it's good, I guess."
The goal is to send 1,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to the USS Carter Hall, which is named for the estate of the same name in Millwood where Project Hope is located, Mrs. Dove said.
"We're going to send them about the first of March," Mrs. Dove said. "And just from the preliminary numbers, our goal is a thousand and we're probably about halfway there.
"This Saturday will end what we call our direct sales, where we take pre-orders and then cookies will arrive here, the ones that we pre-order, will come the 10th of February. And then any time after the 10th of February, the public can look for girls out doing cookie booths. So if they haven't pre-ordered, no problem, there'll still be cookies available."
The cookies sell for $4 a box, and Mrs. Dove said some people are buying cookies for themselves and for those aboard the ship as well. She also said they have received donations up to $150 to purchase cookies for those on board the USS Carter Hall.
On Monday, Jean's Jewelers on Main Street was the first business that the Girl Scouts approached about their effort, and owner Jean Plauger said she was happy to help out.
"I always buy Girl Scout cookies all the time," Plauger said. "I mean, every single year. We probably, between everyone here at the store, we probably buy about 30 boxes.
"Yes, we definitely want to be a part of [sending cookies to the ship], and hope that other Main Street merchants will do so even if they just buy a couple of boxes."