After months of research, fact-checking and gathering supplies, Voorhees Girl Scout Teghan Sydnor has completed her Gold Award project: a Veterans Wall of Honor in nearby Lawnside that mimics the one originally started in Voorhees Township nearly a decade ago.
Sydnor unveiled the new wall on Aug. 21 in front of veterans and their families, as well as county and state elected officials and others. The wall, erected on the back wall of the municipality’s second floor council room, welcomed 33 veterans, in a show of respect for their service and sacrifice.
“It was definitely a long process and a lot of hard work to get this done, but I couldn’t be prouder to have done so,” Sydnor said. “I felt connected with each person throughout this project just by looking at their pictures and adding the information to each plaque that would end up going on the wall.”
Sydnor, in the initial stages of selecting a project several months ago, reached out to former Voorhees Township Clerk Jeanette Schelberg for guidance. Schelberg is the creator of the Voorhees wall of honor, on which the Lawnside memorial is based, and worked closely with Sydnor for many months. She helped the Scout locate 70 borough veterans whose names could potentially go on the new wall.
“When we first got this started, we were able to identify 70 veterans in Lawnside and we weren’t expecting 100 percent of those veterans to get back to us or be interested in maybe getting on the wall,” Sydnor said. “We were hoping for around 20 at the least, but obviously we ended up getting 33, and that kind of felt like the perfect number in terms of it looking clean and not being too many or too little for the wall.”
Moving forward, Sydnors’ understanding is that Lawnside will continue to add names to the wall, possibly with an annual event. At least two or three more veterans will potentially be added in the coming weeks or months as late additions to this year’s batch.
Lawnside Mayor Mary Ann Wardlow thanked Sydnor’s efforts and her inspiration for a project that could benefit the borough while also honoring its veteran population.
“I think it’s courageous and great that the things that you’ve done, if you look back at your bio … you’ve done an awful lot for someone that’s still just getting ready to go away to college,” Wardlow said. “For all of us, it’s important to remember whose shoulders you stand on; that means an awful lot.
“I know just about everyone that I see on this wall, so I feel very close to just about everyone you see on this wall,” she added. “It’s a very beautiful feeling to see [everyone] honored on this wall here.”
Frederica Rollins, leader of Sydnor’s Troop 30264, has served that role for five years and said completing such a project is emblematic of who Sydnor has been as a Girl Scout and as a person.
“The best thing about these high awards that the girls can go towards is that they need to come up with the idea themselves and write that proposal and actually put in all the work to finish it,” Rollins said. “She’s (Sydnor) been exemplary in all of her projects over the years.
“I’ve seen her grow as an individual over the years,” Rollins added, “and it’s shown in the work she’s done in the community.”