Troop 1083, led by Helen Sundgren, meets at Anthony Park in Naples. When they learned the park was named in honor of PFC Charlie P. Anthony, they wanted to find out more. They discovered that PFC Anthony had grown up on the very street where the park is located, and that he had served in Vietnam, where he lost his life in 1969.
Wanting to share this piece of history with others, the girls made posters about Anthony to display at the park. They recognized him on Veterans Day and his birthday. When one of the Brownies in the troop told her grandmother about Charlie Anthony, the grandmother told her she had known him and she came to speak to the girls at a troop meeting.
After learning more about this local hero, the girls thought the whole community should know about Charlie Anthony and his service to our country. After talking with Anthony’s family and showing pictures of the posters they had made to the City of Naples Community Services Department, Parks and Recreation staff, and the City Council, it was agreed that a plaque should be placed at the park in his honor.
A ceremony to unveil the plaque was held on Saturday, March 12, 2016. City of Naples Mayor John F. Sorey III led the program. Cadette Girl Scout Jennifer P. of Troop 1083 spoke about their troop’s involvement in the project. The Macedonia Baptist Church youth choir, including several Girl Scouts, performed for the crowd. And members of the Anthony family traveled from around the country to participate in the celebration.
What started as a simple history lesson grew into a community-wide project, spearheaded by Girl Scouts. Thanks to the girls in Troop 1083, we are now much more aware of PFC Charlie P. Anthony’s legacy and his place in the history of Anthony Park.
–Barbara VanEssen is Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s Community Development Manager for Collier County