The best thing I get to do as GSSA's CEO is watching girls learn and grow, but at a close second is the opportunity to meet many exceptional and caring adults. Girl Scouts would not work if we didn't have you make the world a better place, so every day I have encounters with many adults who are just remarkable people. You might not make the nightly news, but I know what you do, and more important, the girls you work with know what you do for them.
Last weekend one of our remarkable Girl Scout adult members died. Mrs. Mary Edith Foshee Jones was 91, although when I met last year, her she didn't look 91. She was spry, independent, smiling and laughing. This past April she spent a month in Australia because she had always wanted to go to there. Good for her! There are many factors that make Mrs. Jones a remarkable woman, but let me share what I know.
Mrs. Jones served as the troop leader for her daughter's Girl Scout troop in Montgomery. It was a fairly large troop, many of whom are still get together regularly. I met most of them last December, more than 40 years after they started. Not only did she get those girls to remain with her in the troop through high school, Mrs. Jones remained engaged and involved in their lives since she started with them. That troop has met every year since then.
When you talk to the "girls" from the troop, their conversation turns to how Mrs. Jones has always been in their lives. She was an active listener. She served as their cheerleader. She shared their happiness and their sorrows. Think of how many weddings she must have attended. When she lost her daughter, their troop member, the "girls" in her troop came to her aid. They remained involved and engaged with her, helping her deal with her loss. It was a tremendous illustration of how sharing your gifts with others can last a lifetime.
We honored Mrs. Jones as one of Juliette's Pearls at an open house in Montgomery around the holidays. Every one of the "girls" from her troop attended, many coming from far and wide. We had some great entertainment for the event, and she enjoyed every bit of it. When we asked if she wanted someone to pick her up to take her to events she was invited to, she always wanted to drive herself instead -- independent to the end.
Mrs. Jones exemplified a woman of courage, confidence and character. She made a mark on her world and left it a better place. She lived life until the end and gave of her care generously, and it was returned to her more generously. We can all learn lessons from how she lived.