WILLOW MACLAUGHLIN, 18, an Owosso High School graduate, was recently honored with the Girl Scout Gold Award – the highest award in Girl Scouting. MacLaughlin was also honored with a special tribute through the state of Michigan, presented to her by State Rep. Ben Frederick.
The tribute recognizes McLaughlin’s “exceptional abilities in many areas, including her strong sense of compassion and leadership within her community. The receipt of such an award affirms Willow MacLaughlin’s servant-minded character and the certainty of a bright future.”
MacLaughlin started with Girl Scouts at just 5, becoming an active community member through her involvement in dance, the Civil Air Patrol and volunteering at the Steam Railroading Institute and Lebowsky Center for Performing Arts. Continuing in her pursuit of aviation, she received her student pilot license at 16 and her private pilot license at 18 and is now studying in the aviation program through Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City. It is her goal to become an airline pilot, following in the footsteps of her parents.
For her Girl Scout Gold Award, MacLaughlin worked to preserve a decommissioned Owosso Community Airport beacon to honor the legacy of the historic airport. The beacon is now on display.
MacLaughlin shared her passion for scouting was inspired by her mother, who had also been a girl scout – and it was something they shared together while she was growing up since her mother became an assistant troop leader.
The idea to restore the beacon came about because she knew it had been stored at the back of a hanger at the airport and had heard a number of people comment that it should be converted into something, so she decided to task the project herself – converting it into a memorial.
MacLaughlin also expressed how grateful she was for both the Girl Scout Gold Award and to have the support of Frederick.
Shown are MacLaughlin with State Rep. Ben Frederick with the restored beacon and MacLaughlin with a display showing the progress of her project.