Trees for Troops delivers holiday cheer
By Cpl. Wil Acosta
| | December 11, 2006
1ST MARINE CORPS DISTRICT, Garden City, N.Y. --
Santa had some help this year when it came to delivering Christmas to the Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers serving overseas. It came in the form of an elaborate operation, Trees for Troops, which involved everyone from local children to an international shipping company.
The Dee’s Nursery & Florist, Inc., DHL Express, Adelis Securities, the Suffolk Police Veterans Association, and American Citizens for Soldiers in Service joined forces in Oceanside, N.Y. to help deliver Christmas to the servicemembers, Dec. 11.
“It all started three years ago,” said Joe Didominica, who helped start Operation Trees for Troops. “One of our customers wanted to send a Christmas tree over to their son in Iraq. That’s how we hooked up with DHL and Adelis Security.”
Approximately 1000 Christmas trees grown on the Dee’s own tree farm in Franklin, Maine, were shipped with lights and decorations as well as menorahs for Hanukah to servicemembers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, and the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.
In addition, thousands of cards and letters written by the children of the Long Island, N.Y. area’s schools, churches and temples were shipped to those forward deployed or recovering from injuries.
A generous amount of gifts such as DVD players, DVDs, CDs, MP players, barbeque grills, food, and care packages were also shipped. Individuals and businesses donated these items in a massive outpouring of support for our troops, who are serving away from home this holiday season.
According to Cpl. Cullen J. Tiernan, who was served in Iraq with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing during the 2005 holiday season, such gestures do wonder for troop morale.
“Receiving holiday care packages during my deployment last year really made me feel like we were appreciated,” said Tiernan, a former native of Rockville, MD. “It made me feel good to know the sacrifices we were making were recognized by the people back home. Care packages help make dealing with the distance from family and friends during the holidays a little bit easier.”
Employees of DHL Express loaded the trees, gifts, and care packages the Dee’s Nursery in Oceanside, N.Y., and proceeded in a police-escorted convoy to John F. Kennedy International Airport, where the items were to be loaded onto planes and shipped to military units in need of holiday cheer.