ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Dozens of Aberdeen Proving Ground Soldiers will not have the added expense of purchasing trees for the holidays thanks to Pine Valley Christmas Trees of Elkton.

The company donated 142 trees to APG troops through the international Trees For Troops program. Pine Valley owner Paul Cherry and general partner Bill Underwood delivered the trees.

"We like to think we're giving our troops the opportunity to celebrate the holidays under their own tree," Cherry said.

"And to show that we're thankful for what they do for us," Underwood added.

Headquarters Garrison 1st Sgt. Sonya Jackson and Matt Aughey of Morale, Welfare and Recreation coordinated the distribution of the trees. Jackson said the trees went to troops in the 20th Support Command, Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, the 143rd Ordnance Battalion, the 203rd Military Intelligence Battalion, and the U.S. Army Public Health Command.

"We sent e-mails to all the units as soon as we were notified and the units turned in the names of Soldiers who would receive a tree. I'd heard of Trees For Troops, but I'd never witnessed it before," said Jackson of the program's overwhelming support.

She said in addition to the Pine Valley tree donation, the installation's ChalleNGe Academy cadets, who helped unload the trees, made the project a success.

Sgt. 1st Class Josh Robinette, the 20th Support Command operations sergeant, and seven Soldiers from his unit collected trees for the unit's 37 recipients. Robinette said his mission ends when he gets the tree home.

"My wife will decide where it goes," he said.

Capt. Dave Newhouse, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 20th Support Command, said he was "greatly impressed by this donation to our troops from the community."

"This is the first time I've seen something like this," he said. "It says a lot about the good relations between our Soldiers and the community."

Trees for Troops is a charitable program through which Christmas trees are donated to service members and their Families. FedEx and Christmas SPIRIT Foundation sponsor the program. For
more information, visit www.christmasspirtitfoundation.org/programs/treesfortroops/home.htm.