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    NY National Guard Soldiers Share Holiday Spirit

    National Guard Soldiers Share Holiday Spirit

    Photo By Sgt. Andrew Valenza | N.Y. Army National Guard Sgt. First Class Brandon Moseman, a recruiter for the NYARNG,...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Andrew Valenza 

    New York National Guard

    BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. – Two dozen New York National Guard Soldiers helped spread the Christmas spirit Nov. 28th, 2022, by volunteering to load donated Christmas trees bound for service members and their families across the country.

    The Soldiers joined local veterans and Gold Star and Blue Star families at Ellms Family Farm in Ballston Spa, to load 100 donated trees into a FedEx truck. The trees go to military bases and are distributed to military families as part of Trees for Troops, a charitable initiative of the Christmas Spirit Foundation.

    The event was a chance to give back to the community and other Soldiers, said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Cossey, a member of the 42nd Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade Headquarters Company.

    “I figured it was something I could do on my way down to work and help out the troops that are deployed overseas,” Cossey said.

    Cossey said he has had experience working with unit rear detachments, supporting troops deployed overseas and their families back home in New York.

    He understands the importance of family and community connections, especially during the holidays, Cossey said.

    “You know, when it comes to the importance of family and togetherness, them being separate from everybody, anything we can do to make them feel a little bit closer to home,” Cossey said.

    “That's what we really try to do on top of all the rear detachment work that we do, to try and send as many care packages as possible that we can over there. This just seems another thing to add on top of that, specific to the holiday season itself,” he said.

    The Trees for Troops program was launched in 2005, when FedEx Corp., delivered more than 4,300 Christmas Trees to five U.S. military bases, as well as shipments to the Middle East.

    Ellms Family Farm started their support of Trees for Troops 18 years ago, during some of the peak years of New York National Guard deployments overseas, said Garth Ellms, owner of Ellms Family Farms.

    It started when they first saw images of troops celebrating the holidays in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, with Christmas Trees decorating faraway bases and combat outposts.

    “Once you hear this story from somebody that's received a tree, everything's worth it,” Ellms said.

    “Because when you're away from your family, that smell of a real Christmas tree, it ties them back to probably a tradition that they did with their family as a child. And the feedback from that and the comments that we've gotten is just that's why we do it,” he explained.

    The event has become an annual tradition they are proud to continue, he said.

    Ellms said there are about 12 Christmas Tree farms in the region that donate the trees every year, and over the past 17 years, the organization has delivered 277,001 real Christmas Trees to military families and troops.

    Trees for Troops estimates that 15,300 trees will be distributed to 84 military bases throughout the U.S. in 2022.

    New York Army National Guard recruiter Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Moseman was one of a dozen recruiters who supported the event as a tribute to fellow Soldiers and Airmen who will be overseas for the holidays.

    “It’s all about morale, honestly, from a day-to-day basis. When they get things like this. It definitely brings up the morale, and it keeps them in the fight,” Moseman said.



    Date Taken: 11.28.2022
    Date Posted: 11.29.2022 15:46
    Story ID: 434142
    Location: BALLSTON SPA, NY, US 

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