Devens RFTA hosts Trees for SoldiersBy Jaz LevarioDevens Reserve Forces Training Area (RFTA) Public AffairsDecember 4, 2020Devens, Massachusetts -- It may not have looked like winter in New England with the bright blue skies and warm weather but the holiday spirit sure was in the air at Fort Devens RFTA for the 3rd annual Trees for Soldiers event. Volunteers from Operation Service, along with representatives from the Boston Bruins Foundation and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), were in attendance to help hand out free trees to military members, retirees, veterans, and their families.Operation Service has been partnering with the Gardener’s Spot in Leominster, Massachusetts, for the last ten years to provide free Christmas trees to service members, retirees, veterans, and their families during multiple events at military installations throughout the Commonwealth. This year they were able to bring over 100 trees to donate for the Trees for Soldiers event.Joe Firmani, a founder of Operation Service, says he always wanted to give back to the military because he feels they give so much. He wants them to know people are thinking of them and respect what they do. When asked if he considered not doing the event this year because of COVID. Joe was quick to say no, that this event is needed now more than ever, and “The hardest part about this COVID year is telling volunteers that we didn’t need them.” They significantly limited the number of volunteers at the event in comparison to past years."Trees for Soldiers is a great event and Fort Devens RFTA is honored to be a part of it. Operation Service and the Boston Bruins Foundation are wonderful organizations that are doing great things for local service members and veterans. This event really means a lot to the Soldiers, Marines, and veterans in the Fort Devens community, especially this year given that people aren't able to travel or spend time with their extended families. It's definitely a nice way to provide some holiday cheer," said Lieutenant Colonel Lindsey Halter, garrison commander, Fort Devens RFTA.Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Massachusetts State Senator Dean Tran, Fitchburg Mayor Stephen DiNatale, Devens Executive Vice President Jessica Strunkin stopped by to show their support and say hello to the volunteers and service members during the event.