It was a long trip, but a well-traveled thank-you card has finally reached Girl Scout Troop 1447 in Sammamish — about 18 months after it was first sent. According to the postmarks...

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It was a long trip, but a well-traveled thank-you card has finally reached Girl Scout Troop 1447 in Sammamish — about 18 months after it was first sent.

According to the postmarks, it went from a U.S. military base in Kuwait to Sammamish, back into military channels, to Camp Pendleton in California, to Austin, Texas, and finally back to Sammamish.

Troop leader Nola Smith explains:

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During the annual Girl Scout cookie sales, customers could participate in a “Gift of Caring” by buying a box of cookies for charity. Those boxes of cookies were turned back to the Totem Girl Scout Council offices in Seattle, then sent to that year’s Gift of Caring recipients. In 2003, the cookies went to U.S. troops.

“We put a sticker with our troop number, the girls’ first names and our city, Sammamish, Washington, on the bottom of our Gift of Caring cookie boxes,” Smith said.

A box of Trefoils — the shortbread cookies — was handed to David Butler. It was around midnight and Butler, a physician and commander in the Navy Reserves, had just finished a shift in the base hospital in Kuwait.

“I sat down and consumed one sleeve of the cookies right then,” Butler said yesterday from his family-practice office in Texas. “I have a picture of myself sitting on my bunk with the rest of the cookies.”

Butler cut out the front of the box and used the blank cardboard inside as a postcard. He wrote a thank-you note to the troop. He added a line about the temperature being 117 degrees at the time.

He addressed the postcard to the Mayor’s Office in Sammamish and mailed it the next day. But apparently the lack of a ZIP code derailed the note. The card was sent back to Butler, but by then he had returned to Texas, and it took months to catch up to him in Austin.

“It sat on my desk a couple months,” Butler said. “One of my patients volunteers with Girl Scouts, and she found an address for me. I finally got it mailed.”

This time he put the card in an envelope with a note apologizing for the delay, and included “support the troops” magnets for each girl in the troop. The sixth-graders from Samantha Smith Elementary — Heather Smith, Angela Henderson, Julia Seiler, Morgan Conover and Tiffanie Farsad — were thrilled.

Giving it away

Teachers, staff and parents at Maywood Hills Elementary School in Bothell worried when the homeless camp Tent City 4 moved to the nearby St. Brendan’s Catholic Church last spring. A security guard was posted, and school doors were locked during the day.

Then a miraculous thing happened: It became an education project for the students, the school and their families.

The Associated Student Body voted to collect food and supplies for the tent city. The group toured the camp and talked to residents.

Last week, the students received a thank-you letter from the pastoral coordinator at St. Brendan’s. Enclosed was a $1,000 check for the student-activity fund.

“Imagine how many new playground balls and jump ropes that could buy for recess,” Principal Kelly Aramaki wrote in the school newsletter.

Aramaki left it up to the students to decide how to spend the unexpected gift. They voted to send it to help children who were victims of the tsunami. The students also are organizing an All School Disaster Relief Drive to raise more money.

“I am truly inspired and humbled by the generosity, thoughtfulness and selflessness of the kids at Maywood Hills Elementary,” Aramaki wrote. “They have shown us adults once again what it means to put the needs of others before ourselves.”

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or