109th Airmen Lend a Helping Hand for Holiday Trees

  • Published
  • By 2d Lt Colette Martin
  • 109th Airlift Wing
New York Air National Guard volunteers from the 109th Airlift Wing at the Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia N.Y. were on hand Dec. 7 morning at the Ellms Tree Farm to help load over 150 Christmas trees onto a special delivery FedEx truck. The donated will be sent to military bases around the country to support troops and military families this holiday season. Airmen from the 109th Airlift Wing volunteered their time from work and some, their days off, to assist the load out of holiday trees at Ellms Tree Farm for "Trees for Troops."

The Christmas SPIRIT Foundation and FedEx - in cooperation with the National Christmas Tree Association - organized this nationwide effort called Trees for Troops to brighten the holiday of deployed military members and their families by delivering a real Christmas tree right to their living room. Overseas, some military bases receive a Christmas tree delivery as well, bringing members together and bringing back wonderful memories of Christmas's past.

"It's just so cool, an awesome idea. I know if I were deployed I'd love seeing a homegrown Christmas tree," said Sr. Airman Brianna Tator.

With the continued help and support form Chip and Sally Ellms, this year marks the eighth season that Trees for Troops will be loaded at Ellms Christmas Tree Farm.

Nineteen members of the 109th Airlift Wing came out to help load up the FedEx truck this year. "It's a good cause", said Staff Sergeant Kelly Eustis of the Security Forces Squadron. "A lot of us have been deployed during the holiday season. It's a tough time to be away. But just the smell of a real Christmas tree really reminds you of home." In addition to the trees, hand-made Christmas cards were attached to many of the trees, made by students of area schools and donated to show their support to military members and their families.

Last holiday season, Trees for Troops collected and delivered 19,229 real Christmas trees to 69 military bases in the U.S. and overseas.

Since the start of the program in 2005, FedEx has helped to deliver, on average, 17,000 real Christmas trees each year at home and abroad. Last year, the "Trees for Troops" project and FedEx reached a new milestone by delivering their 100,000th Real Christmas tree. Around the country, Christmas Tree growers and individuals donate the trees, while FedEx provides the shipping for them.