Irontonian recipient of Girl Scout gold award

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 25, 2002

Like the Eagle Scout award for boys, the Gold Award is the highest medal a Girl Scout can attain. Few s couts do, as the requirements are rigorous, and require a keen determination. An Ironton scout can now proudly say "I did it."

Laura Oakes, 19, achieved her Gold Award in September, nearly a year after deciding to try for it.

"I feel honored," Laura said. "It's kind of hard to get. I'm kind of proud, I guess. I've been in scouting so long I thought 'why not just finish, go all the way with it?'"

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To earn the award, Laura had to complete a series of community service, leadership and education projects.

Her biggest project was a health fair for residents at Sherman Thompson Towers, Marting House Apartments and members of her church, First Presbyterian Church in Ironton.

Laura provided blood pressure and blood sugar screenings and a selection of literature on maintaining good health, cancer, diabetes, cholesterol and other health issues.

She also handed out Vials of Life, a small bottle used to store a person's vital health information. The vial is kept in a person's refrigerator. Should the person become ill and need emergency services, a sticker on a front door alerts paramedics where to find the pertinent information.

Laura's health fair not only provided an education for some of the elderly residents at the senior citizen's high rise complex, but a chance to make new friends, too.

"Some people came down just to talk," Laura said. "They were so nice."

"One lady at our church came to the health fair, and Laura checked her blood sugar," Laura's mother, Marie Oakes said. "It was very high. Laura gave her some information and has been keeping after her. The lady has taken a greater interest her health."

Marie Oakes said she isn't at all surprised that her daughter earned scouting's highest honor. She said her daughter has displayed a strong streak of determination, literally since she was born.

"She doesn't like me to tell this, but she was a premie, she just weighed a pound, nine and a half ounces," Marie Oakes said. "She was in the hospital four months.

She was so small her dad's ring fit on her ankle. She's always been a good girl, hasn't gotten into trouble that I know about."

The award caps Laura's 11 years in scouting. Since she is 19 years old, this is her last year in the program. She is a freshman at Marshall University and has plans to study medicine.