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NEWS | Dec. 5, 2017

‘Trees for Troops’ delivers holiday cheer to JBLE

By Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, FedEx Corporation and 18 tree farmers worked together to bring holiday cheer to military families by delivering 350 free, live trees to Joint Base Langley-Eustis for active-duty families, Dec. 1.

Due to a nationwide tree shortage this year, live tree prices have increased significantly. In years past, the program has been open to active duty, Reserve and National Guard service members, as well as Department of Defense civilian employees; however, this year’s limited supply meant trees were only available to active-duty members and spouses.

Fort Eustis has participated in the Trees for Troops program for 10 years, receiving up to 600 trees each year to help service members and families save during the holiday season.

“My wife and I have two small kids and it helps so we can spend that money on Christmas presents, or on gas to get home to our families,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cody Bettac, Air Combat Command Headquarters cybersystem operations supervisor. “It’s a huge morale booster to see this support for the military community, and we appreciate everybody who donates trees to the program.”

According to Michael Farist, 633rd Force Support Squadron warehouse manager, families are encouraged to arrive early because trees go fast. This year was no exception, as the line had already stretched around the parking lot before the event even started.

In less than 30 minutes, 175 farm-grown Christmas trees were loaded onto vehicles by U.S. Army Soldiers from the 10th and 53rd Transportation Battalions, 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) at Fort Eustis’ Schultz Plaza. Another 175 were delivered to Bethel Park, where only 50 remained after the first 30 minutes.

“We start at nine o’clock, but if you get here at nine, you’re probably not going to get a tree,” said Farist. “We request as many trees as we can, but we didn’t get a lot this year because of the tree shortage; we just wish we could get more trees so we could help more military families.”

For more information about the Trees for Troops program, visit