Awarding servitude Girl Scout Christmas ornaments will become blankets for needy

Photo By Erica Yoon
Emily May, a 7th-grader at Hunter Elementary School, quilted ornaments with local Girl Scout Troop 40 that hang on the main Christmas tree at Sycamore Shoals State Park. After the holidays, Emily will make quilts out of the ornaments for sick and traumatized children for Project Linus.
  By Julie Fann

  Emily May, a 7th-grader at Hunter Elementary School, is learning one of the biggest lessons of Girl Scouting - that using her skills and talents to help others is worth more than gold, or silver, the second-highest award in scouting that she's striving to receive as a cadette in the organization.
  Local Girl Scout Troop 40 quilted the square ornaments that adorn the Christmas tree at Sycamore Shoals State Park, and, after the holidays, Emily will make blankets out of them, then send them to Project Linus, a non-profit organization based in Bloomington, Ill. that helps needy children.
  "Their main mission is to donate any kind of homemade blanket or quilt to children who have been traumatized or are seriously ill," said Cindy May, Emily's mom. "I think the last ones that were donated in the area went to the Shriner's Hospital; a lot of them go to St. Jude's."
  Emily has set a large goal for herself. She wants to donate 100 blankets to Project Linus and, as part of the project, donation boxes will be set up at the new Super Wal-Mart in Elizabethton that opens Jan. 6 as well as at Yates Remnant Shop, 510 E. Elk Ave., and Somewhere Sewing, 3024 Bristol Hwy., Johnson City.
  Emily hopes to make 15 to 20 of the blankets herself. Her inspiration - besides the desire to get that silver award? Emily comes from a family of females who sew and quilt.
  "My grandma sews; my aunt Wendy sews, and my mom sews, and they help with Project Linus and have a blast at it, and I thought, 'Why not help them?'," she said.
  Before she can receive her silver award, she must complete hours of community service pre-requisites, which she has been doing at places like the Red Cross. "She's worked close to 40 hours at the Red Cross doing different things - helping with a yard sale, cleaning."
  "Something I'll never forget!" Emily said.
  A sewer since the age of eight, Emily's first "real" project was pillows she crafted for her cousins, Jake and Patrick. "When I first started, I would just sew scraps together and make something. I refused to go by the pattern. I just love giving, even if my cousins destroyed those pillows."
  Last year, Emily's younger brother, Joseph, broke his arm and her aunt, Wendy, made a blanket for him, again encouraging Emily to use her talents to help those in need.
  Her long term vocational goal? To be a veterinarian or a professional singer. In the mean time, Emily's mom is just glad her daughter is involved in girl scouting.
  "Girl Scouts is really a great program. It gives them a chance to try so many different things in a safe environment, and it encourages them that they can do anything they want to do," her mom said.