'Trees For Troops' Helps Spread Cheer To Military Families

'Trees For Troops' Helps Spread Cheer To Military Families

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Hundreds of military families on Fort Drum are getting into the holiday spirit.

Not only was a Christmas tree lighted on the post Monday night, but about 700 military families got to go home with trees of their own.

It's called Trees For Troops. 

"Well, if you listen to what is going on around us," Trees For Troops national chairman Dick Darling said, "That is Christmas."

Federal Express delivers trees to more than 63 military bases in the U.S. and overseas.

Representatives from the company were on hand to give them out and see the hundreds of smiling faces. 

"We need to do everything we can to support our troops at home," said Bill Ward, who's FedEx's managing director for operations, "bringing a fresh Christmas tree brings you back to when you were kid. It's a vital role that our soldiers play for our safety and our security and FedEx wants to do everything they can to return that."

"We're just a tad south of the North Pole so it is fitting that we do it here," said Maj. Gen. Walter Piatt, who commands Fort Drum and its 10th Mountain Division.

More than 200,000 Christmas trees have been provided to troops and military families since 2005. That 200,000th tree was donated at Monday night's ceremony.

Organizers say this is a big deal. 

"A lot of these kids are deployed," Darling said, "and they are volunteers and if we can help them even just a little bit, that is what we are here for."

"It really means a lot," Fort Drum resident Marie Spikerman said. "My husband is actually not here and it's my daughter's first Christmas. Without him, this just really means a lot." 

Then it was time to take tree home and decorate for the season.

"It means I can get my family together right now and put some ornaments together," Army bandsman Alcadio Matos said. "I have my in-laws with me, so it's pretty good." 

Spreading holiday cheer one tree at a time.

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