Camp Smith, N.Y. — Ten volunteers from the New York Army and Air National Guard joined veterans, fellow service members and community members at Farmside Acres in Cornwall, N.Y., on Dec. 3rd to load 1,200 Christmas trees onto FedEx trucks in support of the national Trees for Troops charitable effort.Trees for Troops is a program of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation that provides free, farm-grown Christmas trees to United States service members, and their families, around the country and across the globe.This marks 12 years that Farmside Acres, a family run choose and cut Christmas tree farm has participated in the holiday event.The program is made possible each year through donations, grants, scholarships and with the help of warmhearted volunteers.“My family really believes in the military,” said Leigh Nannini, one the owners of Farmside Acres . “This is how we choose to give back by supporting the troops.”New York State Assemblyman, Colin Schmitt, participated in the event at Farmside Acres for the 5th year in a row.“This is one of the greatest causes that I’ve been blessed to be involved in,” Schmitt said, who is an active service member in the New York Army National Guard. “It feels great to come together with fellow service members, veterans, and the community each year during the holiday season.”Earlier this year in preparation for the event, the Christmas Tree Association contacted Nannini due to an increase of requests for the trees.Nannini feels that it's especially important to send hope and love to military families this year.“So many families are strapped this year because of the pandemic,” Nannini said. “For myself, knowing how difficult it’s been to deal with schooling for children, and everything else that’s going on in the world as a result of the pandemic, we’re only dealing with a small portion of what military families are also going through.”Heartfelt notes are written on all 1,200 trees, to offer peace, love, and support.“I just want to offer people some peace and hope, to let them know that we’re thinking of them, and that they’re in our hearts,” Nannini said.New York Army National Guard Maj. Robert Freed, Operations Officer for the 53rd Troop Command, volunteered for the event for the first time.“This was a great experience and opportunity to work with some really generous civilians, as well as fellow service members,” Freed said.New York Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Johann Lindsey, Operations NCO for the 53rd Troop Command, also volunteered in the event alongside Freed. “I really enjoyed volunteering and helping spread holiday cheer to our fellow service members and their families,” he said.While the trees will be shipped to families throughout New York State, the country, and globe, this year 300 of the 1,200 trees are staying local in the Hudson Valley to spread holiday cheer in surrounding communities.For more National Guard newsNational Guard FacebookNational Guard Twitter