All seven Girl Scout troops in Heath are helping a family in Murphysboro, Tenn., who lost everything in an April 10 tornado.

All seven Girl Scout troops in Heath are helping a family in Murphysboro, Tenn., who lost everything in an April 10 tornado.

"We decided to adopt this family," said Tyna Doran, leader of Heath Daisy Troop 1170.

Doran said Troop 1170 has a sister Girl Scout troop in Murphysboro. After the tornado hit, Troop 1170's members contacted their pen pals in the sister troop and learned that the entire Murphysboro troop members and their families escaped severe damage and injury.

Doran said her 10 troop members, who are in kindergarten, still wanted to help someone in that area so they found the George family through Doran's sister, Trisha Leija, who lives in Murphysboro.

The George family lost everything and was staying with Leija until they could be moved to a hotel, Doran said. The family includes Mark and Cathy and their two sons, John Mark, 16, and Christopher, 11. The entire family, including their two dogs and cat, were home when the tornado hit, but all survived.

To help, the troop asked what types of items the family needs and started collecting. After other Girl Scout troops in Heath learned about the donation drive, they also became involved. The drive now includes all seven troops and girls in kindergarten through 12th grade.

"So far, we've got a dozen boxes of different items," Doran said.

The troops have organized a donation drive, which will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 3, at State Farm Insurance, 1440 Granville Road.

Doran said she also would collect items personally. She can be reached by calling (740) 334-8437 or by e-mailing

Items being collected include school supplies, toothpaste and toothbrushes, shampoo and other bathroom supplies, video games, movies, books for Cathy, pet food and supplies, clothing, shoes, magazines, paper, kitchen supplies, sheets, sewing materials for Cathy and other household items.

Doran said the girls in Troop 1170 would like to deliver the items in person.

"Our hope is to have enough items to have to make a road trip," she said.

According to information from the Murphysboro city Web site, the tornado damaged 845 homes, 117 of which were destroyed. Two people were killed, more than 30 people were injured and the latest damage estimate is at $41.8-million.

Doran said troop leaders have taught the girls about tornados and tornado safety during this project and think the girls are learning several other lessons, as well.

"They've learned that when disaster strikes, they can live through it," she said. "And they've learned that they need to give back to their community, no matter if it is a Girl Scout that's been affected or not."

Through the sister Girl Scout troop program, Troop 1170's members already feel a strong connection to the Murphysboro Girl Scouts.

"I think they've already learned through the (sister troop) pen-pal program that they are sisters to every Girl Scout, no matter where they are located or how far away they are," Doran said.

She said this has been a "big lesson" for her kindergartners, who are excited to collect more things for the George family.

She said the American Red Cross is there to help, but local Girl Scouts are "trying to help fill in the gaps wherever we can."Leija said the girls are being true to the Girl Scout mission: "Part of being a Girl Scout is helping others at all times and to make the world a better place. By our sister troop in Ohio collecting donations for the George family, they are doing just that. We are trying to teach the girls that any contribution, regardless of the size, will always have a positive impact."