At a banquet on Nov. 12, the Watertown-Mayer Cadette Girl Scouts will present the Watertown American Legion with new Memorial crosses handmade by the Cadettes themselves.
By completing this project, the Cadettes will not only honor our local fallen soldiers, they will also earn the Cadette Girl Scout highest honor, The Silver Award. The idea was presented to the Cadettes by leader Lisa Bowyer.
At the 2013 Memorial Day service, which was held at the Watertown-Mayer High School Performing Arts Center, Bowyer watched as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts struggled to keep the memorial crosses, which were built to be stuck into the ground, upright by leaning them against the stage. She had the idea to build stands for the crosses, enabling them to be stood up indoors, and the Cadettes loved the idea.
Upon further inspection, the Cadettes found that the current crosses were decades old, and had seen better days. They decided to make all new crosses for the American Legion to use at their Memorial Day service, which has now been moved to the PAC permanently due to the May weather’s unpredictability.
The Cadettes met with Watertown American Legion Commander John Weinzierl in August to discuss the specific requirements for Memorial crosses. They designed and built three prototypes and presented them at the Legion meeting in September. The Legion members were able to choose which base, lettering and flag placement they preferred for the crosses.
The Cadettes then devoted many Sundays to constructing 15 Memorial crosses. They involved the younger Girl Scout troops as well, by inviting them to help with sanding and painting of the constructed crosses. Once the crosses were all painted white, the Cadettes lettered each cross with the name and war of the 15 honored soldiers lost to Watertown in military service.
Those earning the Cadette Girl Scout Silver Award include eighth graders Abigale Bowyer, Michela Cortolezzis, Lillian Guy, Valarie Kratochwill and Kayla Painschab; seventh graders Megan Pearson and Emma Sutphen; and sixth grader Taylor Szymcazk.
The Cadettes would like to thank their leaders: Lisa Bowyer, Shawna Kratochwill, Chris Pearson and Siiri-Aline Sutphen and all of their parents for their support. They would also like to thank Cadette dads Lyle Kratochwill and Scott Painschab for sharing their tools and time.
Last but not least, they would like to thank Rick Sutphen who made everything possible. He secured all of the supplies, helped with the planning and measuring, then brought the Cadettes into his workshop and taught them how to use powertools. The Cadettes are proud to say that no injuries occurred during this project.
–By Shawna Kratochwill