130 Christmas trees donated to troops deployed over the holidays

November 26, 2018 02:17 PM

BALLSTON SPA - In the 14 years the "Trees for Troops" program has been in existence, over 208,000 Christmas trees have been donated to nearly 65 military bases in 17 countries around the world.

This year, 130 trees were donated by Capital Region community members and tree farms. They were collected for pickup at Ellms Family Farm in Ballston Spa.

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"We get to meet folks here every year that come back on this day and maybe they've been overseas,” Garth Ellms said. “The best part is they bring a picture and you'll see a green tree in the middle of the desert. I just really hits home for them, we like to hear those stories. That's why we continue to do it."

On Monday, volunteers and service men and women came out to the farm to load the trees onto a FedEx truck. FedEx transports the donated trees for free.

Ellms said for some, loading the trees onto the truck has become a holiday tradition.

"They come out every year for this. We've been seeing some of the same people just from town and this is their morning to help load,” Ellms said. “As I said, they're used to putting other people first and they're here once again putting people first and loading those trees on and making sure that other service men and women are taking advantage of that."

For others, it's the start of something new.

"Last year, we were both employed down in ODF [Operation Deep Freeze] for Christmas and we know how important it is for Christmas and holidays around the world so on and so forth,” 109th Airlift Wing Senior Master Sergeant Gary Fiorillo said. “So definitely great to come out and help out when we're home, absolutely."

"Well, it's great to give back to the community, we enjoy doing that. So when we are home we do like to do that,” 109th Airlift Wing Staff Sergeant Shannon Schiller said.

A total of 130 trees are on the truck from Ellms Farm. They're going to a base in Savannah, Georgia. 

This year, donations in the Capital Region were made by the following businesses:

  • Avery’s Trees
  • Bailey Family Christmas Trees
  • Bob’s Trees
  • Brookside Nursery-retail
  • Ellms’ Christmas Trees
  • Goderie’s Tree Farm
  • Goode Trees
  • Herba’s Acres Tree Farm
  • Hewitt’s Garden Center-retail
  • Holland Hill
  • McDonough’s Farm
  • Olsen Hill Farm
  • Sausville Farm

Ornaments were donated by Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Schools. Stars from real American flags were donated from Starsforourtroops.


Emily Burkhard

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