By Ariana Pedraza
Eighteen-year-old Newsome senior Reilly Weicht is doing her part in our community by honoring veterans who have passed away through her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Operation Clean Berets.
Second-in-command in Newsome’s JROTC, Newsome’s branch of Rho Kappa and the National Honors Society, Weicht is an active member of her school. She has also earned a three-year National Army ROTC Scholarship and has been a Girl Scout since she was in third grade.
Her project, Operation Clean Berets, focuses on cleaning the graves of veterans and spreading awareness about the importance of honoring veterans through community service.
Sponsored by Gene Whitfield, the mayor of Zephyrhills, Weicht was allowed to enter and clean parts of the Oakside Cemetery in Zephyrhills. She cleaned the gravestones with special, time-consuming steps so as to not damage them.
“My goal is to show an unconventional way to honor veterans that is sustainable and means a lot to them and their families. I’ve always been passionate about helping veterans, so this project seemed like a good way to honor them,” Weicht explained.
While not currently in a military family, Weicht plans to go into service in her future. She honors veterans with the hope that one day someone will do that for her. She plans to attend Appalachian State University after graduating from Newsome High School.
Her troop leader of 10 years described Reilly as dedicated and extremely hard working.
“When Reilly decided she wanted to earn her Gold Award (highest honor a Girl Scout can earn), she knew she wanted to do something that honored veterans, so she worked hard and has shown her love for her country, community and veterans with her actions,” said the troop leader. “Reilly is working actively to reach out and let her community know how to honor veterans and show their respect.”
To learn more about Girl Scout troops in Hillsborough County, visit www.gswcf.org.