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A few good Scouts
Girls meet soldier who got cookies
Girl Scouts and A So1BF69D
Carey Oliver puts his helmet on Mallory Watkins as he talks about his time in Afghanistan. - photo by Emily Saunders
Mallory Watkins slid the Army helmet over her blonde side ponytail.

“It’s heavy,” she said with a big grin.

She stood in a group of Girl Scouts crowding around Sgt. Carey Oliver and his laptop computer at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church.

Oliver, who recently returned after 10 months in Afghanistan, visited with two troops Friday night to share his experiences, as well as his gratitude for the cookies they sent him.

Oliver received 50 boxes of cookies from local Cadette Troop 14208 and Brownie Troop 14236 during his demobilization at Fort Stewart.

He also got boxes from neighbors and other Girl Scouts to share with his unit while it was still in Afghanistan.

“Whenever Oliver got mail, it was Christmas. Everybody knew that they’d get something,” Oliver said. “It got to the point that they were like, ‘Man, they’ve got to send some Thin Mints.’”

And for training higher-ups in the Afghan National Army, those cookies were like currency.

“When we’d want them to do something, if they were procrastinating on it, we’d show up with a box of Girl Scout cookies and just put them on the table,” he said.

The cookies served as motivation to finish the task so they could have some.

“Your cookies are valuable,” he told the Scouts. “Things happen because of those cookies.”

During his visit Friday, Oliver also shared with the Scouts what he learned about the Afghan culture, from men in eyeliner to women in burkas.

Oliver told the girls if they lived in Afghanistan, they would be married at age 10.

“I wouldn’t want to live in Afghanistan,” Watkins said. “Compared to American women, they lose a lot of opportunities.”

Oliver also brought several photos he took while on duty so the girls could see the country and what’s it’s like to be a soldier overseas.

After viewing the conditions in Afghanistan, Nicole van Heijningen said she was glad the Girl Scouts did what they could to help.

“I think the cookies kind of give them some joy,” she said.

Girl Scout troops from Forsyth County recently sent 6,000 boxes of cookies overseas to soldiers.

Lauree Watkins, co-leader of the Cadettes, said shipping the cookies recently got easier, thanks to a coordinated effort of metro Atlanta Girl Scouts.

Their troops chose to send cookies to Oliver, who some of the families knew from church.

“I think it’s nice that they were able to put a face to the name,” she said.