Oh Christmas Tree: Trees for Troops provides military families Christmas Cheer

By Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom | December 14, 2012

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A Christmas tree is tied to the top of a Marines vehicle after receiving it for free from the 2012 Trees for Troops event at Hancock Marina Dec. 10. Marines, Sailors and their families came by to receive free trees for the holidays.
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A pile of Christmas trees rest, next to the road before being loaded up into vehicles during the 2012 Trees for Troops event at Hancock Marina Dec. 10. There were more than 500 trees donated to the event by a tree farmer in Massachusetts.
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Matthew Houde, a civilian volunteer, loads a tree onto a vehicle during the 2012 Trees for Troops event at Hancock Marina Dec. 10.
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A Christmas tree sticks out the back window of a Marine's car at the 2012 Trees for Troops event at Hancock Marina Dec. 10. Hundreds of Marines, Sailors and their families came to pick up a free Christmas tree.
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Lance Cpl. Stephen Quijano, a Marine Aircraft Group 14 Marine, carries two Christmas trees during the 2012 Trees for Troops event at Hancock Marina Dec. 10. The Marines who volunteered unloaded two FedEx trailers with more than 500 trees, all donated by a Massachusetts tree farm.
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A pile of Christmas trees rests next to the road before being loaded up on to vehicles during the 2012 Trees for Troops event at Hancock Marina Dec. 10. There were more than 500 trees donated to the event by a tree farmer in Massachusetts.
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Lance Cpl. Randy Webb, left, and Sgt. Patrick Kennedy, right, work on putting a Christmas tree into the back of a vehicle during the 2012 Trees for Troops event at Hancock Marina Dec. 10. The Marines who volunteered unloaded two FedEx trailers with hundreds of trees on each, all donated by a Massachusetts tree farm. Both Marines are with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28.
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Lance Cpl. Dallin Brimley, a Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 Marine, helps load a Christmas tree into the back of Marines truck during the 2012 Trees for Troops event at Hancock Marina Dec. 10. More than 20 Marines and civilians helped load up vehicles with free trees.
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Lance Cpl. Dallin Brimley, a Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 Marine, helps load a Christmas tree into the back of Marines truck during the 2012 Trees for Troops event at Hancock Marina Dec. 10. More than 20 Marines and civilians helped load up vehicles with free trees.
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A tag tells the address of where the Christmas trees were donated from during the 2012 Trees for Troops event at Hancock Marina Dec. 10.
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Lance Cpl. Dallin Brimley, a Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 Marine, helps load a Christmas tree into the back of Marines truck during the 2012 Trees for Troops event at Hancock Marina Dec. 10. More than 20 Marines and civilians helped load up vehicles with free trees.
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Lance Cpl. Dallin Brimley, a Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 Marine, helps load a Christmas tree into the back of Marines truck during the 2012 Trees for Troops event at Hancock Marina Dec. 10. More than 20 Marines and civilians helped load up vehicles with free trees.
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Marines and civilians team up to unload two FedEx trailers full of Christmas trees for the 2012 Trees for Troops event at Hancock Marina Dec. 10. More than 500 families received a free Christmas tree, which were donated by a tree farm in Massachusetts.
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Lance Cpl. Nekia Taylor, a Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 Marine, helps unload Christmas trees for the 2012 Trees for Troops event at Hancock Marina Dec. 10. There were more than 500 trees donated for the event.
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Lance Cpl. Dallin Brimley, a Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 Marine, helps load a Christmas tree into the back of a Marine's truck during the 2012 Trees for Troops event at Hancock Marina Dec. 10. More than 20 Marines and civilians volunteered to help load up vehicles with trees.

There are several things that signify to families the holidays are coming, but none do it as well as the arrival of the Christmas tree. More than 500 families aboard Cherry Point received a free Christmas tree through the 2012 Trees for Troops event held at Hancock Marina Dec. 10

“This event is designed to make sure we get free trees to all the active duty (service members), retirees and their families,” said Beth McKenzie, marketing director for Marine Corps Community Services.

Though the trees did not arrive on Santa’s sleigh, the man who did deliver them said it was an honor to help spread Christmas cheer. The trees were delivered through the annual team efforts of several commercial and charity organizations.

“I enjoy driving these trees down here to give to the troops,” said Kenneth Windham, a delivery driver who has delivered the trees to the event four years in a row. “The best part is seeing the smiling faces of the kids, wives and Marines getting their trees. It is an honor to serve those who sacrifice so much for our freedoms.”

Marines showed up to pick up their trees in droves. Some brought the whole family.

“This event means a lot to me and my family,” said Sgt. Celso Villagomez, who brought his wife and two children. “It’s great getting to come out and get a tree with my son, who will be celebrating his third birthday on Christmas day.”

This event helps raise the morale of military families during the holidays, said McKenzie.

“It’s nice for Marines, Sailors and their families to know people are thinking of them,” she said. “This is a good way for the outside world to show their appreciation for the services Marines are doing.”

The trees were donated to the organization from a tree farmer in Nova Scotia, Canada.