Soldiers and their families get gift of Christmas trees

Lawton_It's beginning to look a lot more like Christmas at Fort Sill.  The post is helping spread some holiday cheer by giving out free Christmas trees to soldiers and their families in their first "Trees for Troops" program.

Fort Sill was selected by the "Christmas Spirit Foundation" to receive 450 trees from farms all over the country.  People stood in line Tuesday morning hoping to get the perfect tree to start their holiday celebration.

Lori Aresco and her 13 month old son Brendon are really excited because this promises to be a really special Christmas.  "My husband's going to be here and he'll actually get to spend Christmas with his son," she says.  It will be their first Christmas together since her husband has been on a fifteen month deployment.

The evergreens arrived at Fort Sill Monday for the special program that's a partnership between tree farms, Federal Express, and the Christmas Spirit Foundation.  It helps to give soldiers and their families a merrier Christmas and Fort Sill was just one of 37 stops Fed Ex is making to 15 countries at military installations around the world - they hope to deliver at least 17,000 trees this year.

The generous gift means a lot to Aresco.  "I didn't tell my husband I was getting one, and it's going to be a surprise when he gets home to have a Christmas tree," she says.  Her soldier will be home from his third deployment and its for reasons like this that Command Sergeant Major Kinney Bryant wanted "Trees for Troops" to come to Fort Sill.

"We definitely want to let our soldiers have the family time to get their tree, take it home, and be able to decorate it and have that valuable family time that they've missed out on multiple deployments," he says.  And families were out in force carefully choosing their trees, most of them had written notes from the farmers thanking the soldiers for their service.

Aresco got her perfect tree and headed home.  She says the program is a good thing, especially for families of deployed soldiers.  "And they help bring it to your car and stuff like that too...that's a big help too, with not having your spouse around," she says.  Aresco and her son spent the morning getting the tree ready to decorate - they are very eager to see their father and husband get home for the holidays.  "He gets here on the 15th...I can't wait."

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