by Lisa Tome
Lee Ann Cook spent a year of her life making a difference for Cecil's homeless.
Cook, a 17-year-old Girl Scout and member of Hopewell Troop 1003, stitched her way to earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest level award for scouts.
During her scouting journey, she learned to sew.
She put that skill to work for her Gold Award, spending a year making 35 blankets which will be donated to Cecil's Rotating Shelter for the homeless. Some of the blankets are quilted. Others are fleece and knotted.
Cook said that she decided to make blankets for the shelter after a class discussion at Rising Sun High School about homelessness.
"They (the homeless) don't really have supplies to keep warm," said Cook who said she will enjoy knowing that those in need have the comfort of a homemade blanket.
She started sewing in the fall of 2016 and completed her project this fall. "A lot of it was by sewing machine. But about half was by hand," Cook said.
Part of the Gold award requirements include teaching others a skill. She taught classes in blanket making for family, friends and scouts at Hopewell church.
As a scout she also completed requirements for the scouting Bronze and Silver awards. Her Bronze Award was earned through complete rehabilitation of a flower bed. Her Silver Award came with a building awareness regarding drug abuse project.
She is the daughter of Clifton and Donna Cook of Rising Sun. Donna Cook has also been her daughter's scout leader for more than a dozen years.
She said scouting has also helped build her confidence. She's learned a great deal about public speaking. "I'm so happy it's done," said Cook. She worked a lot a few months ago. "I had so much to do. This summer I thought, oh well, there goes my summer," she said.
Part of the Gold Award was fundraising. She had to pay for materials to make all the quilts and blankets. She received a generous donation from Port Deposit VFW Post 8185. She also received donations from R.L. Jackson trucking, Harmony Masonic Lodge, Learning Curves tutoring center, family, friends, and $300 worth of fabric from Girl Scout Service Unit 1.
She admits that friends tease her about being a scout. Cook has come up with the perfect response to the ribbing. She tells them that because she's a scout, she's been to Europe and toured Paris, London, Switzerland, and Italy visiting International scout headquarters in her travels. She's also a seasoned camper. She has also learned about photography, first aid, religion, and more while earning a slew of merit badges.
In addition to scouting, Lee Ann is also enrolled in the medical assistant program at Cecil School of Technology. She also holds a job as a waitress at The Post House in Nottingham, Pa. She's a senior at Rising Sun High and also belongs to her church youth group.