• FORT CARSON, Colo.-Spc. Jason Carpenter, 204th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, loads trees into a cart that transports them to the Fort Carson Sports Complex. Photo by Thea Skinner, Fort Carson Mountaineer

    Trees brighten faces

    FORT CARSON, Colo.-Spc. Jason Carpenter, 204th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, loads trees into a cart that transports them to the Fort Carson Sports Complex. Photo by Thea Skinner, Fort Carson Mountaineer

  • An Army Family watches as their chosen tree's base is cut to allow for water absorption at the Fort Carson Sports Complex Dec. 9.

    Tree selection

    An Army Family watches as their chosen tree's base is cut to allow for water absorption at the Fort Carson Sports Complex Dec. 9.

FORT CARSON, Colo. (Army News Service, Dec. 18, 2008) - Free Christmas trees lighted the faces of Army families at the Fort Carson Sports Complex Dec. 9 during the SPIRIT Foundation's "Trees for Troops" program.

"Some have never had a live one their whole life," said Kim Van Treadway, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation chief of Supplies and Services. "Most of these trees are going to families that would not have one otherwise - families that need financial assistance."

The program delivers Christmas trees to troops at more than 40 military installations across the country and overseas including:

Aca,!Ac Fort Lewis, Wash.
Aca,!Ac Fort Bliss, Texas
Aca,!Ac Fort Hood, Texas
Aca,!Ac Fort Sill, Okla.
Aca,!Ac Fort Carson, Colo.
Aca,!Ac Fort Riley, Kan.
Aca,!Ac Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
Aca,!Ac Fort Polk, La.
Aca,!Ac Fort Benning, Ga.
Aca,!Ac Fort Gordon, Ga.
Aca,!Ac Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.
Aca,!Ac Fort Knox, Ky.
Aca,!Ac Fort Campbell, Ky.
Aca,!Ac Fort Bragg, N.C.
Aca,!Ac Fort Eustis, Va.
Aca,!Ac Fort Story, Va.
Aca,!Ac Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.
Aca,!Ac Fort Drum, N.Y.

The program also sent Christmas trees to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and other locations overseas, according to its sponsors.

At Fort Carson, along with the trees, stuffed animal reindeer toys were handed out for children to cuddle and hot chocolate kept them warm as the trees were loaded into vehicles.

"Sometimes people think of it as just a Christmas tree," said Nichole Fischer, program coordinator for the foundation in Chesterfield, Mass. "I think (for) some of these families that get them - it is the smallest unexpected gift that just makes their holiday."

Under the Trees for Troops program, the FedEx Corporation teams up with the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation and the National Christmas Tree Association of growers to provide the free trees to military families.

"Trees for Troops delivers much-needed cheer to those families whose loved
ones are serving our country and will not be home for the holidays," said Douglas G.
Duncan, president and chief executive officer of FedEx Freight. "This program gives us a chance to say thanks to the men, women and families who give so much to protect our freedom."

The Trees for Troops program has grown rapidly since its inception in 2005, when 4,300 trees were delivered to troops and military families at five bases. Last year, more than 750 tree growers in 29 states donated 17,000 trees that were delivered by FedEx to more than 40 military bases.

"We work with a lot of tree growers in the country, who were having servicemembers choose trees" from their farms, Fischer said. "We decided so many growers were already doing this" and revolutionized the program.

For the 2008 holiday season, FedEx delivered more than 36,000 trees to military families. In November, the corporation transported about 400 trees to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait, according to Sally Davenport, spokesperson for FedEx in Memphis,Tenn.

(Thea Skinner writes for the Fort Carson Mountaineer newspaper.)

Page last updated Thu December 18th, 2008 at 11:26