Theresa M. Morthland of Burke earned the Stars & Stripes Award, the highest recognition that American Heritage Girls offers to girl members. The award requires a great deal of time, sacrifice and devotion to achieve.
In addition to living out the American Heritage Girls creed and oath, award recipients complete a number of requirements, including earning a total of 16 merit badges; holding a leadership position in their troop for a minimum of six months; planning, developing and providing leadership to others in a service project lasting more than 100 hours; writing a life ambition/spiritual walk essay and résumé; and passing a Board of Review.
Morthland chose to serve the Church of the Nativity Catholic School by designing and building an elevated sandbox with an innovative design so preschool children in wheelchairs and children with tactile difficulties can play in the sand with their friends. The sandbox has become a focal point in the playground and with multiple classes of children. She worked with multiple schools before actual construction, making presentations to each administration to seek approval. She also made a presentation to the parish’s Knights of Columbus Council 7992 seeking and ultimately receiving their financial support to complete the project.
Morthland served as the troop’s Senior Troop Leader, Closet Coordinator, and earned multiple awards, such as, the Harriet Tubman Level Award, Dolley Madison Level Award, and the Mary, the First Disciple Religious Medal.
A member of Immanuel Bible Church’s American Heritage Girls Troop VA1115, Morthland is the 448th girl nationally — and the 37th girl in Virginia — to earn the Stars & Stripes Award. She will be recognized in a court-of-honor ceremony at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, at Immanuel Bible Church in Annandale.
She is the daughter of Sam and Michele Morthland of Burke and the family attends the Church of the Nativity Catholic Church in Burke. She graduated from Lake Braddock Secondary School in June, where she was active in the Color Guard. She currently attends West Virginia University as a Freshman in Forensics Biology. She was recognized by the college with both academic and leadership scholarships.
American Heritage Girls Inc. is a national character-development organization for girls ages 5 to 18 that embraces Christian values and encourages family involvement. For more information, go to www.americanheritagegirls.org.