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Christmas trees delivered to troops at JBLM

FedEx delivers holiday spirit

Soldiers assigned to the Reception Center Cadre helped unload 800 Christmas “Trees for Troops,” an event sponsored by FedEx. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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A Christmas tree certainly brightens the holiday season.

"It has been a joy to deliver these trees to the soldiers and their families," commented Steve Hank, FedEx's local area manager, as soldiers unloaded trees from one of two trailers.

"It is an honor to be able to do and to spread the Christmas spirit."

Wednesday morning at the American Lake Conference Center, the Joint Base Lewis-McChord's Directorate of Morale, Welfare and Recreation accepted the delivery of 800 Christmas "Trees for Troops."

Thirty more trees will be delivered to soldiers and their families at the Yakima Training Center.

From across the country, tree growers and their customers donated the fir trees as a way to thank those who serve.

There will be some very happy families at JBLM.

"I feel honored that I was picked to receive one of the first trees," said Staff Sgt. Amber Ricketson, 627th Security Force Squadron, as she helped soldiers unload and stack the sweet smelling conifers.

"It is a great opportunity to represent my family, my squadron, the Air Force and JBLM."

JBLM soldiers and airmen between the ranks of E-1 and E-5 can come to the east side of conference center's parking lot Dec. 3rd and 4th between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to pick up a tree.

After Friday, any servicemember can stop by to pick up any remaining trees.

Hawk knows well the history of "Trees for Troops" program at JBLM.

"I have been here since the very first year - eleven years ago - when this program started, and it just gets better."

In 2005, the National Christmas Tree Association created the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation.  

The foundation developed plans for a national program that unified the tree growers and the Christmas tree associations from around the Nation.

FedEx became involved as the in-kind sponsor, and as a result, the national "Trees for Troops" program was created.

Since then, FedEx, which ships the trees at no charge, has delivered more than 160,000 Christmas trees to servicemembers and their families, covering every branch of the military at more than 60 bases.

"They didn't have this program when I was a young soldier," commented SFC Sampson Mitchell, as he worked with 18 other soldiers assigned to the Reception Center.

"This is a great thing, and I absolutely love it."

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