Late Girl Scout remembered as kind, carefree

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

Isabelle receives a Girl Scout Bronze Award

JASPER — When Tri-County YMCA After School Director Jami Ferguson remembers the late Isabelle Meyer she recalls a sweet, smiling girl who loved hands-on activities and always cheered on and helped those around her.

Father Gary Kaiser will remember a young girl who loved her faith and skipping down the halls and sidewalks of Precious Blood Catholic Church, taking her time to get where she was going regardless of who was trying to hurry her along.

“I think that’s something I learned from her,” Kaiser said. “Just to slow down and appreciate what you have.”

Ferguson and Kaiser are two of hundreds of people who knew Isabelle and will remember the 11-year-old. In the three days since Isabelle died, support from the local community and Girl Scouts across the country has poured in for Isabelle’s family, and stories like the ones from Kaiser and Ferguson have been a comfort to the family.

“We greatly appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts,” said Cyndi Meyer, Isabelle’s grandmother and guardian.

Isabelle — an avid Girl Scout — was on a morning hike at Camp Koch Monday with several other scouts and leaders when a tree suddenly fell, injuring her, another scout and two adults.

Isabelle died later that day at St. Vincent Evansville. Authorities are still investigating why the tree fell, and the Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana has closed Camp Koch while camp officials and law enforcement investigate the incident.

Sydney Hoffman, marketing and communications coordinator for the Girls Scouts of Southwest Indiana, said that right now, the organization is focused on supporting its grieving members and their families. In a press release, the organization said “counselors are available to campers, members, leaders, volunteers, or others affected by this incident.”

“We’re in mourning,” Hoffman said in a phone interview Wednesday. “We’re trying to take care of our Girl Scout family right now.”

Herald file photo by Sarah Ann Jump
Isabelle added hand sanitizer to gift bags for chemotherapy patients during a meeting of Girl Scout Troop 670 in 2016. As a service project, the Girl Scouts gathered donated items and assembled gift bags to help patients feel as comfortable as possible during treatments.

Being a Girl Scout was one of Isabelle’s favorite activities, Cyndi said. She loved participating in the service activities, camps and sleepovers. Outside of the Girl Scouts, Cyndi said, Isabelle loved her American Girl doll and spending time with her father, Benjamin Brassard of Evansville.

On a recent trip to Disney World in Florida, Cyndi said, Isabelle discovered she loved the park’s Avatar ride, too. Cyndi, Isabelle, Isabelle’s sisters and her other grandmother, Mary Brassard, all took that trip together. Now, about a week later, Cyndi’s voice shakes as she recounts the trip.

“It was the best time,” Cyndi recalled. “I’m glad we got that opportunity, not knowing the outcome of her life.”

Locally, many who knew Isabelle are also mourning and looking for concrete ways to support her family. In an effort to help, the YMCA created a GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses. It can be found at www.gofundme.com/isabelle-meyer-funeral-arrangements. As of 10 a.m. this morning, it had raised nearly $13,000, with donations coming in from across the country.

Isabelle is survived by her maternal grandparents and guardians, Cyndi and Stan Meyer of Jasper; her mother, Amanda Peters (Ira), Jasper; her father, Benjamin Brassard (Ashley), Evansville; siblings, Alana Meyer and Chloe Peters, Madi and Tucker Brassard, Stasha Hemmer and Lois Marie Peters; paternal grandparents, Dan and Mary Brassard, Avon; and aunts and uncles.

Isabelle bridges up to Cadette in Girl Scouts

Her obituary describes her as an active five-year member of the Girl Scouts of America, where she enjoyed volunteering and doing things for other people. Ferguson saw that side of Isabelle often at the YMCA after-school program.
“She really cared about those who were around her,” Ferguson said.

Isabelle played soccer and was a member of the Girls on the Run for two years and she was a member of Precious Blood Catholic Church in Jasper, where she was strong in her faith. This year, she was adamant about volunteering at the church’s vacation Bible school.

“I did not push her in any way or means,” Cyndi said. “She just said she wanted to volunteer.”

It wasn’t a surprising request. Isabelle liked helping around church, and she often helped her grandparents serve as hospitality ministers on Sundays — along with her sisters — and helped gather offerings during services.

Many comments on news coverage about Isabelle reference her smile, and Cyndi, Kaiser and Ferguson recalled that she was a carefree, happy kid.

“Stan and I were just talking and we realized she just never really complained much,” Cyndi recalled.

Ferguson shared similar thoughts.

“She will be missed,” Ferguson said, choking up. “She was just a very kind individual, and her smile brightened your day.”

Funeral services for Isabelle will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday at Precious Blood Catholic Church in Jasper, with burial to follow in Fairview Cemetery in Jasper.

A visitation will be held from 1 to 7 p.m. on Sunday at the Becher-Kluesner Downtown Chapel in Jasper.

Memorial contributions may be made to the GoFundMe website for Isabelle, Precious Blood Catholic Church or a favorite charity.

Online condolences may be made at www.becherkluesner.com.

Right now, Cyndi said, the family is still numb. Once that wears off, she said, it will be hard to cope.

“It is going to be hard,” Cyndi said. “But I have my faith.”




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