MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- Since the 15th century, Christmas trees have been a staple of the holidays. For many, they are a symbol of eternal life.
Cherry Point’s annual Trees for Troops event provided hundreds of trees to active-duty families Dec. 11.
Trees for Troops, which began in 2005, has been hosted at Cherry Point by Marine Corps Community Services since 2006 said Beth McKenzie, the marketing director for MCCS.
“This year we donated about 250 trees to active duty military and their families,” said McKenzie. “Trees can sometimes run up to more than $200 so we’ve been lucky to be with this program for years and it’s just great.”
Service members and their families lined up at Hancock Marina hours before the event kicked off to ensure they received a tree. Marine volunteers were on hand to help distribute the trees to families.
“This is just another way for us to show the Marines, Sailors and their families who work here that we appreciate what they do,” said Sgt. Maj. Benjamin B. Pangborn, Cherry Point’s sergeant major. “We like to be able to bring them something a little special for the holiday season.”
Trees for Troops receives trees donated by Christmas tree farms around the country. The trees are then distributed to active duty service members and their families, said McKenzie.
“I think this is a great event,” said Christopher Vasquez, husband of Petty Officer Third Class Ashley Vasquez, a corpsman at the Naval Health Clinic. “The people who donate these trees to families are incredibly generous.”
Trees for Troops gets families into the Christmas spirit by bringing everyone together, said Vasquez.
“It would hardly be the holidays without a Christmas tree,” he said.