The scene surrounding Adam Thornberry on April 9 was a far cry from the dusty reality of Afghanistan.
Just days before, the 25-year-old Menomonee Falls man was in a helicopter flying dust-off missions in Afghanistan. On April 9, he sat comfortably in a booth at Bubba's Frozen Custard on Capitol Drive in Pewaukee with his family and a troop of Girl Scouts at his side.
The Army Reservist is home for two short weeks on his midtour leave.
Now a specialist in an Army Reserve unit, Thornberry is in his sixth year of service, and thanks to the efforts of Daisy Troop 4709 from Pewaukee Lake Elementary, his time in the war-torn nation is just a bit more bearable.
The Scouts sent colored patriotic pictures, letters of thanks and encouragement - and yes, Girl Scout cookies - to Thornberry and the soldiers with whom he serves.
The soldier said receiving any kind of mail was a treat, but the cookies and the encouragement was especially moving to a soldier longing for a little piece of home.
"It's almost like Christmas," Thornberry said.
Many of the 18 Daisies from Pewaukee came to Bubba's to meet their overseas pen-pal in person.
Thornberry brought them pictures of Afghanistan, including one of him enjoying the Girl Scout cookies he received. He also presented them with an American flag he took with him on a medical evacuation mission before sharing a dish of frozen custard with his newfound friends.
The first-grade girls were curious about his daily life.
"What happens if someone gets hurt while you're flying?" one asked.
"Why do you wear that suit?" another wondered when they saw a picture of Thornberry in his uniform.
Daisies have to achieve certain "petals" throughout the year.
"One of the petals is red. That stands for being brave and strong," explained troop leader Carin Quinones. "So we talked about the troops and the war and what that all meant, and they had to go to their classrooms and be really brave and stand up and ask for donations for the troops."
Lara Eisendrath, a 7-year-old Scout, said, "I think he's working hard to do it (to protect the country)."
She said Thornberry was brave and that she enjoyed sending him his favorite cookies.
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