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Remarkable Girl Scout leaders pass the torch after 50 years of service

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Anna Washington and Gladys Lewis are two Richmond women who epitomize dedication. The pair stand committed to their church, their families, their friendship and molding young lives. Gladys and Anna proudly serve as Girl Scout leaders at St. Phillips Episcopal, a responsibility they take seriously.

"If you commit yourself to doing it. You have to do it. There is no turning back," 93-year-old Gladys Lewis said.

Gladys and Anna have been shaping the lives of three generations of Scouts for more than a century combined, even though their leadership roles were supposed to be temporary when they took the oath in the mid-1960s.

"When you raise your hand and you take that promise and you stand up before these girls you cannot walk away from it," Anna Washington said.

It has been a memorable journey, from camping trips to cookie drives. But showing young ladies the right path in life is what the woman considered their most important duty

"They remember what you did for them," Lewis said. "They became part of you. Then when Tuesday rolled around at 6 o’clock it was Girl Scout time."

But all good things must come to an end. Gladys and Anna are hanging up their berets after 50 years of service. At a recent service at St. Phillip’s Episcopal, the congregation and several former Girl Scouts came to honor Ms. Washington and Ms. Lewis.

"The torch was given to us. Now we’re handing the torch to someone else," Washington said.

Stepping aside for new leadership was a bittersweet decision.

 

"When you see our girls now that are lawyers, doctors and professors it makes you feel good," Washington said.

In Girl Scouts law, scouts promise to make the world a better place. Ms. Lewis and Ms. Washington follow the law to a "T." When it comes to commitment from two leaders, one could not ask for much s’more.

"They are great leaders. They’ve taught. They’ve led. They’ve guided," former Girl Scout Gwendolyn Jallah said. "Those are mighty big shoes to fill. They are loving shoes. But mighty big shoes to fill."

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