MCAS CHERRY POINT, N.C. — Military members who may not be able to go home to celebrate Christmas at home got a special gift on Friday that keeps with a tradition going back 17 years.
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point service members took part in the annual Trees for Troops event. MCAS Cherry Point and Marine Corps Community Services Lejeune-New River once again are partnering with FedEx and the Christmas Spirit Foundation to distribute free Christmas trees to active duty service members and their families.
The first event was held Friday at Hancock Marina aboard Cherry Point. Another event is scheduled for Dec. 9 at the Paradise Point Golf Course parking lot aboard Camp Lejeune.
Friday’s event at Cherry Point saw Marines volunteering to give free Christmas trees to their fellow service members who may not get home during the holidays. They say the best part may be the camaraderie.
“We’re, we’re a family in itself, to get together with our fellow Marines, our fellow families, and then get to help their actual families,” said Cpl. Shelbie McKay. “It’s an amazing thing to see, like I said, amongst each other, and getting to come together and hand out the trees to benefit the actual families. It’s amazing.”
Farms around the country donate the Christmas trees and FedEx delivers them to the military bases for free. Over the past 17 years, the Christmas Spirit Foundation has worked with FedEx to deliver more than 262,265 real Christmas trees to military families across the United States. In 2021, the program is scheduled to deliver approximately 14,500 trees to 77 military bases over the course of two weeks.
“Yeah, so we received 350 trees (Friday),” said Beth McKenzie, marketing and recreation director for MCAS Cherry Point. “They came from a tree farm out of New York. And looks like we got mostly Fraser furs this year, which are beautiful. And yeah, we’ll we’ll probably get rid of all of our chairs this year. They’re all been taken.”
Trees for service members at Camp Lejeune and New River will be distributed on Dec. 9 beginning at 8 a.m. to all DoD ID cardholders on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last. No trees will be reserved; one tree per vehicle, with valid DoD ID. No walk-ups. People are asked to not line up prior to 6:30 a.m.
For more information about the Christmas Spirit Foundation and the Trees for Troops program, visit https://www.christmasspiritfoundation.org/.