Family of woman killed in icy I-70 pileup one year ago starts scholarship for local Girl Scouts

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A local family is making it easier for young ladies to learn about friendship and the outdoors through Girl Scouts.

And the name on the scholarship fund means more than silver and gold to some community members.

Three friends who considered Linda Henderson family sat around the campfire circle Monday, remembering her as an incredible Girl Scout leader.  

“I miss her,” Shelley Albright said wiping away tears. “I just wish she was here.”

They lost Henderson on a snowy February day in 2019. There was a massive pile-up on Interstate 70, near Oak Grove that sent dozens to the hospital and took Henderson’s life. 

Her husband, James Henderson, was badly injured but survived. The two were high school sweethearts and married for 56 years. 

RELATED: ‘He’s miraculous’: 74-year-old metro man defying the odds after 47-car pile-up on I-70

Henderson had a strong relationship with nature, too. That’s why her family is starting a scholarship foundation for local girls who want to go to Girl Scouts camp, but can’t afford it. 

“This is where we taught together with Linda,” fellow Scout leader and friend Julie Conway said.

Henderson taught thousands of Girl Scouts about the outdoors, friendship and life. 

Linda Henderson

“Linda would bring all her stuff and tell all her stories, and it was just magical,” fellow Scout leader and friend Bonnie Holland said.

“Her legacy lives on through the girls and through the adults that she’s trained,” Conway said. 

RELATED: Woman killed in I-70 pileup remembered as beloved Girl Scout troop leader, mentor

As one of Henderson’s former troopers and longtime family friend, Shelly Albright knows firsthand what it means to have the “Walking Stick Lady” — with a 10-pound “swap shirt” — in your corner. 

“I got adopted in to the family,” Albright said. “She just tried to make everything fun, but she was also that leader that you could go talk to about anything and everything.”

The Girl Scouts are also sprucing up and dedicating the fire ring to Linda and renaming it in her honor. It’s a place she spent a lot of time. 

Loved ones have no doubt life-changing conversations will continue here with Henderson in mind.

“Linda is what held, I think, every group that she was with together,” Albright said. “She was the glue!”

Now, Henderson’s family will stick together through her teachings: Be kind and love each other. 

James is still doing physical therapy in Wyoming with his daughter. He hopes to move back to Platte City very soon. 

They think his first stop will be the “fire ring” that will be named after his late wife. 

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