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Girl Scouts laud Hopkins as 2010 Woman of Distinction
Marsha Hopkins, left, and Marie Merritt, center, react Thursday as Sandy Brim, right, recalls her days in Girl Scout Troop 57 with Hopkins during the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia’s annual Woman of Distinction luncheon at Gainesville First United Methodist Church. Hopkins was named as the 2010 recipient. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout.

Marsha Hopkins’ career as a Girl Scout came full circle Thursday as she was honored as the 2010 Woman of Distinction for the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia.

Hopkins, who first became a Brownie Scout in the second grade at Enota Elementary, was honored Thursday at a luncheon at Gainesville First United Methodist Church for her contributions to the community and her embodiment of the Girls Scout Promise and Law.

Hopkins said Thursday most of what she needed to know she learned in Girl Scouts, from practical skills to an appreciation of nature and good character.

“We learned if you say you’re going to do something, do your best to do it,” she said.

Two of Hopkins’ fellow Girl Scouts from Troop 57 paid tribute to her at Thursday’s luncheon. Sandy Brim said she could remember exactly how Hopkins looked in her scouting beret.

Thanks to Hopkins’ persistent efforts, Brim said their troup always won the campfire competition — a quality of commitment that Hopkins has carried through her adult life, Brim said.

“She’s sort of been our center of gravity all these years,” Brim said. “... She’s always been a sustainer. ... Marsha sustains things and keeps them going.”

Friend Mary Elder told of Hopkins’ varied accomplishments: putting shingles on a garage roof, rescuing hatching sea turtles, winning local awards for her song lyrics and poetry, preaching sermons at three different churches and owning a business for building custom music boxes. Secretary of State Brian Kemp also said Hopkins’ accomplishments included keeping bees and plowing with a mule.

Hopkins also has served on numerous community clubs, boards and committees, including the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia and the Elachee Nature Science Center.

Of all her accomplishments, Elder said Hopkins had never owned a cell phone or had her ears pierced. And Elder disputed a claim that her friend lacked a good sense of direction.

“It seems to me that Marsha lays down her will to receive the will of the heavenly father, because, indeed, you have had direction in your life,” Elder said.

Margaret Skene, the chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, said Hopkins’ passion for creativity in all that she does, her sense of adventure and “her strong desire to make the world a better place,” made her a Woman of Distinction.

“Marsha has done all this with incredible grace,” Skene said.