Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
The Fort Leavenworth Fire Department now has plenty of herbs and vegetables to choose from when cooking their meals thanks to Daisy Troop 5400 and the garden they planted outside Fire Station No. 2.
“It’s a 10-piece project called ‘It’s Your World — Change It’ and the culmination of the project is to do a service project,” said Allison Hermanson, Troop 5400 leader. “We asked (the troop members) who they wanted to give it to and they agreed the firefighters because they give so much for us.
“They knew that they cook for themselves, so they wanted to do an herb garden for them,” she said. “(Firefighters) do play a big role in the community, and the Girl Scouts look up to them as heroes in the community.”
Some of the girls had personal connections to firefighters, too, like 6-year-old twins Larkyn and Lyra Hayes, whose dad, Tyler Hayes is a firefighter and emergency medical technician with the Leavenworth Fire Department.
“(The project) is amazing,” said their mom, Jennifer Hayes. “It’s nice that this is a smaller community, and they can do something like this to help out the firefighters. I know the guys love the community and the kids coming in and getting involved.”
The garden includes mint, rosemary, sage, basil, cucumbers, red and green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, habanero peppers, carrots and radishes.
“I think it’s a great thing for the community, for the kids to have the opportunity to come over and provide something that is very useful here at the fire station,” said Battalion Chief Robert Allen. “They’re feeding us with some good herbs and vegetables and just the care that they put into building it and placing it and their timing was perfect. The guys are appreciative of it.”
The process to planting the garden was a journey that began in December. In their first official year in Girl Scouts, the 13 members of the troop went on the “Welcome to the Daisy Flower Garden” journey, which used stories to teach them about the Girl Scout laws and codes, introduce them to flower friends and give them chances to earn their first awards as Girl Scouts. Once they went through the first eight sessions, they put what they learned into action with the garden.
Hermanson said, along with the members of the troop, a lot of the work put into it was thanks to the parents of troop member Kalena Steenstra. Her mom, Stephanie Steenstra, coordinated the project with the fire department and, her father, Maj. Phil Steenstra, Command and General Staff Officer Course student, built the 12-foot flower bed for the garden. Additionally, the money for the garden was raised by selling Girl Scout cookies.
“The money just keeps rolling back into the community,” Hermanson said.
Along with planting the garden, the girls put personal touches on the outside of the planter with their handprints and names along the edges. Six-year-old Amelia Hermanson chose yellow for her handprint.
“It’s the color of the sunflower,” she said. “(Firefighters) help (protect) us from fire, and they use their ladders to go upstairs and then they grab us and save us.”