(Blog entry by Steve Drake, CEO of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, who is traveling with the Trees for Troops convoy in the Pacific Northwest.)
The Trees for Troops program launched into full force Monday (November 27) with pickups in Oregon, Washington, Maine and New Hampshire.
In Oregon, a wintery snow storm added to the Christmas spirit as more than 2,500 trees were loaded into FedEx Freight trucks at several locations. The trucks include the brand new FedEx Special Delivery trucks ... their first use ever. The twin trailers were loaded at the Drakes Crossing Nursery as Barabara Hupp, secretary of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, counted each of the trees to be sure we meet our goal.
In a coordinated effort, three cabs and six trailers pulled to the front of the Oregon State Capitol at 2 pm. Three thousand trees donated by Oregon growers will help brighten the holidays for troops and families.
Several FedEx Special Delivery trailers, parked briefly Monday in front of the Oregon State Capitol, contained bundled trees from four of the growers for shipment to eight military bases across the West. The 19 Oregon growers donated more than one-quarter of the 11,000 trees that FedEx is shipping in cooperation with the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation to U.S. troops, some of whom are stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Oregon trees are bound for the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot, Camp Pendleton and Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, all near San Diego; Marine bases at Barstow and Twentynine Palms in the California desert; the Marine Corps air station near Yuma, Ariz.; Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; and Fort Carson, Colo. "Most of the trees will be at the bases by Friday and some by Wednesday," said Steve Drake, the chief executive of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the National Christmas Tree Association.
And, if you've not already had a chance, go to www.ChristmasSPIRITFoundation.org ... read some of the letters of support.