News: Trees for Troops delivers holiday cheer to air station
Story by Lance Cpl. Andy Orozco
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. - No Christmas is complete without a tree and Trees for Troops made this holiday season a better one by giving a key piece of the Christmas puzzle to military families aboard Marine Corps Air Station New River.
The Trees for Troops program gave more than 300 live trees to Marines and Sailors aboard the air station at the Youth Sports Complex, Dec. 12.
“The purpose of this event is to give service members a free tree,” said Brittany Strickland, Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) commercial sponsorship coordinator. “We receive them from the Christmas Spirit Foundation and FedEx delivers them for free, so it’s kind of a combined effort on their part.”
According to http://www.treesfortroops.org, the National Christmas Tree Association developed the Christmas Spirit Foundation (CSF) in 2005.
The CSF then partnered with FedEx and developed the Trees for Troops program in 45 days, delivering approximately 4,300 trees that year.
“The Christmas Spirit Foundation and FedEx are the ones who are responsible for making sure we receive the trees, but we receive them from a Christmas tree farm in Michigan,” said Strickland.
More than 300 Christmas trees were delivered to the the air station as part of the event.
Volunteers from Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training (CNATT), Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) and MCCS employees came to help move trees to vehicles, said Strickland.
“It’s a great way to give back; you see all of the happy families and they get to go home and decorate the tree and it really just puts you in the Christmas mood, for me that’s the big thing and I know our Marines love coming out and meeting people,” said Strickland.
Nichole Payne was one of the patrons who received a tree during the event and expressed her gratitude.
“I’m very grateful for events like these,” said Payne. “I’ve never had a live tree before and the fact that it’s free is an early Christmas within itself.”
Strickland had a personal motivation to help with the event.
“I’m a military spouse myself, so I know how hard times can be during the Christmas season,” said Strickland. “It’s great to give back to the community and to our service members because they do so much for us.”