Mary Downs’ work at Veterans Park wins Gold Award in Girl Scouts – The Madison Record
MADISON – To win the Gold Award in Girls Scouts, Mary Downs renovated Madison Veterans Park for its visual appeal and recognition of accomplished military leaders.
Several years ago, Downs envisioned his project, “Honoring of Medal of Honor Recipients,” when his Girl Scout troop cleared the flower bed at Captain Jesse Ollie Wikle Jr. Veterans Memorial Park on Front Street in the center. city of Madison.
“We found two Medal of Honor stones buried under the bushes over there,” Downs said. Volunteers moved markers around the flower bed, but personal information about the men was not displayed except for name, rank and some dates. “I decided to create information plaques to educate the public about who these heroes are.”
Downs researched Medal of Honor recipients Col. Bolten and Master Sgt Bolden of Madison, and found Col. Leo Thorsness, a resident of Madison, had also won the medal. “I have had a new granite stone and a new plaque made for Colonel Thorsness. Now people who visit the park can read the plaques and scan the QR codes and learn more about our local heroes, ”said Down.
For the second phase of his project, Downs installed LED lights on the flag poles and monument, while replacing the park’s sprinkler system. She added metal rails in front of the monument to protect legacy stones and eliminate possible damage from lawn mowers.
She competes in Troop 926 with leaders Jean Downs and Andrea Johnson. Larry Vannoy, post commander of the Madison American Legion, served as project advisor. Mayor Paul Finley and City Councilor Connie Spears donated lighting.
The Downs project took over 100 hours. She showcased her Project Gold credentials at the 2021 Memorial Day ceremony at Veterans Park in front of an audience of around 200. “Now when people visit Veterans Park, they can learn more about the local Medal of Honor recipients. Hope Madison’s parents take their kids to the park to read about them, ”she said.
A senior at James Clemens High School, Downs competes with Diamond Dolls for the Jets baseball team. In Girl Scouts since first year, she has won the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, Bronze Award, Silver Award three times, and over 60 leadership skills badges and pins.
She is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Post 229 and works at Toyota Field for the Trash Pandas.
Downs plans to study early childhood education at Ole Miss.
His parents are Jeff and Jean Downs. Jeff is a director at Teledyne Brown Engineering and Jean is vice president of operations at SCI.