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Farmers helping troops celebrate Christmas

Farmers helping troops celebrate Christmas

Christmas tree producers are sending trees to servicemembers

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

American farmers are doing what they can to help members of the U.S. military celebrate the holiday season.

Christmas tree farmers from multiple states are shipping Christmas to servicemembers stationed domestically and overseas.

In Ohio, for example, the agriculture department and state Christmas Tree Association have supported the troops through Operation Evergreen since 1995.

This year, the Ohio Department of Agriculture inspected more than 100 donated Christmas trees destined for Kuwait.

The shipments also included decorations and letters from elementary school children.

It’s a small gesture but it’s a way to let the soldiers know people back home are thinking about them and want them to have a happy holiday season.

“It’s a way to give back to the troops, maybe send them a bit of Christmas greetings, give them a little bit of home while they’re spending time away from their families during the holiday season, Dan Kenny, chief of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s plant health division, told WCPO.

In other states, Christmas tree farms and communities participate in the Trees for Troops program.

This initiative delivers Christmas trees to 77 Air Force, Army, Marine, Navy and Coast Guard bases stationed around the country.

Since the start of November 2021, 14,500 trees have been donated to the cause. And since it started 16 years ago, more than 262,000 real trees have been donated to Trees for Troops.

One tree farmer in particular is looking to send trees to servicemembers from the community.

Geri Hyder, owner of Indian Rock Tree Farm in Camino, Calif., is looking for contact information for servicemembers from El Dorado County.

Geri and her late husband, Larry, a Korean War veteran, started sending trees to soldiers in the 1970s.

“We send (trees) to wherever they are deployed so we need to get the names from the community,” Hyder told the Georgetown Gazette.

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