Girl Scouts plant memorial tree for trooper killed in line of duty

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When Girl Scout Troop 50410 needed to plant a tree for the final portion of its tree badge, the scouts knew exactly where they wanted to plant it and why.  In a small ceremony, outside of the Elyria Post of the Highway Patrol, 3800 Cletus Drive, four members of the troop planted a magnolia tree and placed a commemorative marker in memory of fallen Trooper Kenny Velez on Nov. 7.  Katy Andrijowych, leader of the troop, said that planting the tree was the last part in the scouts receiving their tree badge.  The other requirements for the badge included learning the different types of trees, the different parts of trees and identifying trees.  The girls completed the previous portions of the requirements during a daylong visit to the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland.  The arboretum also supplied the magnolia tree that the girls would plant.  When the scouts were asked where they wanted to plant their tree, they decided within seconds, Andrijowych said.  “The final part of the tree badge is to plant a tree,” she said.  “The girls chose to put the tree here in memory of Trooper Velez. It took them about 30 seconds to decide; all on their own.”  Velez’ niece, Brooke Bratovich, was formerly a member of Troop 50410.  Morgan Bosworth, 12, of Amherst, holds the rank of Cadette with the scouts.  She said that the troop hoped that the tree would serve as a reminder to the community that Velez was loved and would be missed.  “Once we found out he died, we wanted to do something to show that we were sad that he died,” Morgan said.

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