Trees for Troops, local farms send 600 Christmas Trees to military families in GA

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GOBLES, Mich. — Charles Konneck knows the holidays can be a hard time for people, especially for military families. He served in the army years ago and bounced around the country with his wife and two kids, calling a new place ‘home’ once every few years.

“Some of the lower-enlisted young soldiers in the military have families,” said Konneck at Wahmhoff Farms. “This is neat for them to get a Christmas tree, a free Christmas tree, and makes their Christmas that much better.”

Konneck was among over 100 volunteers — firefighters, military groups, veterans, local residents — who loaded up FedEx trucks with 600 bundled Christmas trees for military families in Fort Benning, Georgia. They spent over an hour in the drizzling rain Monday morning carrying trees with both arms to a conveyor belt that went into giant, spacious trucks.

“It makes me feel good that we can do this for our soldiers and make them happy,” said Konneck about the Trees for Troops event. “Put a smile on some little kid's face, some military brat, you know.”

Event coordinator Marsha Gray said she, and the Christmas tree industry, shared the same sentiment. Thirteen years ago, the National Christmas Tree Association thought of ways to encourage military families during the holidays. They came up with the idea to donate real trees to them and FedEx stepped in to make the deliveries. Since then, Trees for Troops and the association have donated over 16,000 trees annually to families around the world.

“About two or three years into the project the Wahmhoffs said ‘We’d love to host the loading event’ and they have been doing it ever since,” said Gray. “They’ve had a wonderful turn out, obviously with all the the volunteers.”

Gray said many of the trees that are shipped come from 12 farms in Michigan. The local growers bring them by truck to Wahmhoffs annually, already bundled, and the volunteers put them on the trucks.

“Some of the soldiers are from Michigan,” said Konneck about the troops stationed at Fort Benning.  “I think this really puts a smile on their face and makes them feel like home, you know. Home is thinking about them and that’s really important to our soldiers.”

Gray said this year's event was a success because of everyone's participation. From the growers to the volunteers to the people who donate money online to keep the program going, she thanked them all.  But said it's nothing compared to what America's servicemen and women do.

“They’ve given up an awful lot during the holidays, if someone's serving overseas,” said Gray. “We just want them to know that we remember them. We think about them this time of year.”

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  • Jay

    what does a tree have to do with Jesus birthday ? Why Is Jesus’s resurrection celebrated with eggs and bunnys? He died on Friday came back from the dead three days later that would be Monday but celebrate his resurrection on Sunday ? There’s a connection between both but none of them have to do with Jesus the truth shall set you free

  • Sr

    Free ? Nothing is free… We could say donated ?? Because someone is either donating there time or money. Also again why are we cutting down LIVE trees to bring in our homes to enjoy them for our selfish amusement ? Then a month later we discard them in the trash… LIVE tree… DEAD tree… Christmas aka saturnalia is not celebrating Jesus birth. He was born when the flocks were out which means it was spring or fall. Also ask yourself should we pick a random day to celebrate your birthday ? That’s what I thought… Learn the history and where your family traditions are really coming from… Our holidays have history that come with them that we should be aware of. Just because you see a deer and call it a rabbit does not make that deer a rabbit. Same goes for saturnalia just because it is not called Christmas does not make it Christmas. It derived from saturnalia…. Jesus wouldn’t want us over indulging and consuming material goods from corporations. We should be eating together sharing and loving one another. We do not need the holidays for this, open your eyes do your own research.

  • Denise

    Thank you for doing this. I’m part of the team here at Fort Benning that distributes these trees, and I wish you could see the happiness I saw this morning as they picked their trees. Thank you to all who donated.