Initiative Aims to Provide Trees for the Troops
by KRISTEN ARMSTRONG, Staff Writer
|With the average price of a Christmas tree
around $40, military families on a budget might think twice about buying
their holiday evergreen. And for troops deployed overseas, Christmas
trees might be hard to find.
That's where Trees for Troops comes in.
The program, sponsored by the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation and FedEx Corp., collects trees donated by growers throughout the county to give to military troops and families across the nation and around the world.
The program recently made a stop in Middleburg at Lowelands Farm, where local tree growers donated between 125 and 135 trees.
“I think it's important for the military to know that people are thinking about them,” said Karen Lowe of Lowelands Farm. “We appreciate them, and their sacrifices for us.”
Those who donated trees included Lou Nichols of Loudoun Nursery, Jeff Holt of Joe's Trees, Peter Cook of Oakland Orchard, Tom O'Halloran of Glengary Tree Farm, Ticonderoga Farm and Lowelands Farm.
The growers promoted the Trees for Troops program with their customers, and were able to get additional donations, as a result.
Each tree was personalized with a hand-written message, wishing the recipients a happy holiday and thanking them for their service.
This is the third year the program has been in place, and 15,000 to 17,000 trees are expected to be delivered on FedEx freight trucks to all branches of the military at 37 bases across the United States.
A number of trees have also been shipped overseas, including 300 from Ohio that have been distributed to troops in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq and Qatar.
The Navy's Fifth Fleet also will receive 100 trees from Indiana, which will make it aboard ships in Southwest Asia.
“Not only are we grateful for [servicemen and servicewomen's] sacrifices which benefit our nation, we know that some of them are permanently or temporarily without their mother or father this Christmas,” Lowe said. “We hope that a beautiful, fresh Christmas tree brings them a little extra joy this Christmas season.”