NOTE: Each week throughout the school year, we will visit a school across Eastern Carver County Schools. Some weeks the plan may be to stop in multiple classrooms by grade, or by subject. Other weeks it may highlight a certain specialist group. The purpose is to give families and our community a glimpse into the every-day learning environment happening in our buildings. A chance to spotlight the incredible work our teachers and staff do on a daily basis for our students, and to showcase the incredible work our students produce as well. So, keep your Eye on ECCS!
The commons area at Chanhassen High School was unusually busier on the morning of April 6 as more than 30 National Honor Society students assembled care packages for troops.
After months of organizing the event, asking for donations, and coordinating with local corporations who were sponsors, Chanhassen High School senior Griffin Duff filled his pick-up truck, and more, for delivery to local resident Molly Ambrose, the president and founder of the non-profit Semper Fi Flo Foundation.
Ambrose is a mother of four Chanhassen High School graduates, including son, Nick (Class of 2014), an active member in the Marines. It was through the Minnesota Marines Moms organization that Ambrose began creating care packages for troops and supporting families and veteran homes.
Ambrose estimated Semper Fi Flo sent out 350 care packages alone in December 2022.
Duff, who plans to attend the University of Iowa next fall, and will join the Army ROTC, said he wanted to “do something to give back, to say thank you” to those that already serve. Duff’s brother, Carter, played baseball with Ambrose’s youngest son, Patrick, so he knew the family.
“Griffin reached out to me to see if there was anything he could do to help. My daughter, Megan, was able to do a care package project for her Capstone project when she was in high school, so I asked Griffin if he’d want to do something like that,” Ambrose said.
Duff, through the Key Club at Chanhassen High School, began with a donation drive. He said his favorite part was organizing it all, creating spreadsheets to keep tallies of donations. Paige Lepak, a school counselor at Chanhassen and first-year National Honor Society advisor who has family in the military, aided Duff in making the drive happen.
Chanhassen National Honor Society members came together April 6 to pack up the boxes, which included 1,500 Girl Scout cookie boxes as well as 16 cases of granola bars from General Mills. Ambrose said 100 percent of the care packages are donated or purchased through donated funds.
“I said, ‘I think we started something, Grif,’” Ambrose said as care packages filled up her Ford Expedition in addition to Duff’s truck. “Grif has come through so much for our foundation.”
Lepak met with Chaska High School NHS advisor Sally Reed later in the day about combining forces for future drives.
“I’d love to make this a yearly event, like the Honor Society Blood Drive. These care packages support people from our community. That’s what the NHS is all about,” Lepak said.
For Ambrose, she crosses her fingers and hopes her son, Nick, can finish out his four years of service in July without any more deployments. Even when he is no longer serving, the mission will continue for Molly.
“My life has totally changed. It’s a passion,” she said.