By Jeff Wagner

EAGAN, Minn. (WCCO) – November was always meant to be a month of service for the Girl Scouts. But on Saturday, it had a special and heartfelt meaning for troops across the country.

One week earlier, three girl scouts and a mother were killed as they picked up trash along a highway in western Wisconsin. A fourth girl remains hospitalized.

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“It’s sad that they died doing something that was so good for our community,” said scout Karyn Wochnick.

To honor them, Eagan Girl Scouts Service Unit 507 gave back to its community at Thomas Lake Park.

They built bird feeders to be placed around the park, then wrote cards to be given to veterans ahead of Veteran’s Day.

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“I think it’s really an example of how we live the Girl Scout promise in our everyday lives and as a whole community,” said Becky Wochnick, Girl Scout leader.

Troops across the Twin Cities and the country held service projects Saturday along with a vigil. Wochnick’s group then gathered around the fire to sing Girl Scout songs. They each then wrote well wishes on a piece of paper for Jayna Kelley, Autumn Helgeson, Haylee Hickle, and Hickle’s mom Sara Schneider – the four who lost their lives – and Madalyn Swiefelhofer, the girl still in the hospital.

“We hold all the families that have been affected by this tragic loss in our hearts and we really hope for the healing of the girl that is continuing to recover in the hospital,” Wochnick said.

Tragedy is what brought them together Saturday, but it won’t stop them from spreading their honorable message by serving others.

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“If nothing else, I think this will be an opportunity for our girls to fight even more for the issues that they care about in really helping to give back to their community and help to make the world a better place,” Wochnick said.

Jeff Wagner