MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- There are several things that signify to families the holidays are coming, but none do it as well as the arrival of the Christmas tree. More than 500 families aboard Cherry Point received a free Christmas tree through the 2012 Trees for Troops event held at Hancock Marina Dec. 10.
“This event is designed to make sure we get free trees to all the active duty (servicemembers), retirees and their families,” said Beth McKenzie, marketing director for Marine Corps Community Services.
Though the trees did not arrive on Santa’s sleigh, the man who did deliver them said it was an honor to help spread Christmas cheer. The trees were delivered through the annual team efforts of several commercial and charity organizations.
“I enjoy driving these trees down here to give to the troops,” said Kenneth Windham, a delivery driver who has delivered the trees to the event four years in a row. “The best part is seeing the smiling faces of the kids, wives and Marines getting their trees. It is an honor to serve those who sacrifice so much for our freedoms.”
Marines showed up to pick up their trees in droves. Some brought the whole family.
“This event means a lot to me and my family,” said Sgt. Celso Villagomez, who brought his wife and two children. “It’s great getting to come out and get a tree with my son, who will be celebrating his third birthday on Christmas day.”
This event helps raise the morale of military families during the holidays, said McKenzie.
“It’s nice for Marines, Sailors and their families to know people are thinking of them,” she said. “This is a good way for the outside world to show their appreciation for the services Marines are doing.”
The trees were donated to the organization from a tree farmer in Nova Scotia, Canada.