It can be a tough time of year for troops serving overseas during the holidays. But one area Christmas tree grower is hoping to put a smile on the faces of some of our service members and their families this Christmas.
The program is called Trees For Troops. Since 2005, more than 103,000 free and farm grown Christmas trees have been delivered...thanks to FedEx...to troops and their families at 69 military bases throughout the U.S. and around the world. One of the growers is St. Croix Valley Trees based in Somerset, Wisconsin.
Sherril Schottler and her husband have been selling fresh cut trees at their farm since 1987. They are members of the national Christmas tree association and were thrilled at the prospect to donate trees for troops. They've been participating since the start.
"It makes me smile."
Their trees will be among the nearly 20,000 trees that will be shipped to military families based here in the states like at the coast guard base in Sault St. Marie.
"Often times our military families here in the states are always having to be very careful with their budget, and so it is an opportunity for them to have a real tree." Schottler says the destination of their trees is unknown but they could also be going to the bases overseas like in Afghanistan or Kuwait.
"A fresh tree...trees that smell good bring back all the wonderful memories of families together at Christmas so that is just a good, warm feeling."
The troops and their families will receive the trees this weekend and Schottler knows it makes a difference this time of year.
"We have actually had several military families come here and say that now they are no longer in service but they appreciated it when their families received a Christmas tree when the person in the family was serving overseas."
"As long as there is a need...we'll be here."
If you want to help out, Trees For Troops accepts donations to help offset the cost for growers like the Schottlers. To find out more here’s a link to the program’s website.
St. Croix Valley Trees is doing more to help out. This Sunday from 1-4pm, bring the kids to meet and take a picture with Santa! Schottler says they’ll be collecting cash/check donations for Hurricane Sandy Relief.