About a dozen Oregon Christmas tree growers are coming together to put the “merry” in “Merry Christmas” for families of the First Brigade, First Calvary Division Unit based at Fort Hood, Texas. The division has suffered many casualties in the war in Iraq.
The growers, supported by a half dozen allied industries, shipped out 1,300 5- to 6-foot Douglas fir Christmas trees to the Texas military base on November 29, with an arrival date of December 4. This is the second year of “Operation Thank You,” which was an overwhelming hit a year ago, when 1,000 trees were delivered to the families of a different group of military personnel at Fort Hood. All of the tree donors — each donated 100 trees apiece — are members of the Oregon Association of Nurseries’ Christmas Tree Chapter and the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association.
Donors include Allen’s Tree Farm, Oregon City; Blue Heron Farm, Independence;
Cascade West Trees Inc., Canby; Helmig Tree Farms LLC, Molalla; Highland Farm of
Oregon, Beavercreek; Holiday Specialtrees LLC, Woodburn; Holiday Tree Farms Inc.,
Corvallis; Misty Firs Tree Farm & Nursery, Salem; Ridgeline Tree Farms, Molalla; Silver Mountain Christmas Trees, Sublimity; and Yule Tree Farms, Aurora. Helmig and Yule Tree Farms donated an additional 50 trees each to be displayed in the common areas of the base.
“Our industry wants our troops and their families to know how much we appreciate what they do for us every day,” said Helmig Tree Farms’ Gayla Hansen, president of the
OAN Christmas Tree Chapter. “It’s a very small thing we are doing. I hope the trees brighten their holiday season and remind them that people do care.”
Central Refrigerated Carriers of Salt Lake City has once again donated the transportation of the trees via a 53-foot refrigerated truck. VanCinco Plastics is arranging delivery of tree stands for the trees. Monetary donations from CFP Inc. of Salem, Brooks
Tree Farm of Salem and Drake’s Crossing Nursery of Silverton will be used to purchase two banners for the sides of the truck and to buy the tree stands.
Ralph Weaver, a Vietnam veteran, will drive the truck again this year. He surprised everyone a year ago by putting on his Santa suit before pulling into Fort Hood, even taking time to listen to the children’s Christmas wishes. It’s an act he plans to repeat this year.
Though we are not big sellers of Christmas trees in the greenhouse industry, many breeders, marketers, growers and more all donate plants and more to a number of causes throughout the year. Each little bit counts, especially during the holiday season, and we want to thank everyone who offers so many things throughout the year to a number of causes.