150 "trees for troops" from were loaded into a FedEx truck over the course of a brisk morning hour Thursday Dec. 2 at Brown's Three B Tree Nursery in Jordan. Todd Richardson, of Memphis, got his hands on just about every tree.
"Every little thing we can do for our soldiers, it's more than worth the time and effort," Richardson said. "I can spend a little time out here sacrificing for the big sacrifices they're making for us."
The Jordan nursery donated 30 of its own trees to the national effort that provides Christmas trees to families of troops serving domestically and abroad - the rest were collected from local tree farmers. 150 is an improvement from 2009, when 92 trees were collected at the same location. This was the second year Three B Nursery was a collection site for the effort, and owners Rob and Cathy Brown's fifth year participating in "Trees for Troops."
More than 1,000 trees from New York State were donated, and about half of those were sent to Fort Drum; trees shipped out from Jordan went to the Cape May Coast Guard and the Syracuse National Guard.
Nursery owner Rob Brown is also executive director for the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York. He said that since 2005, more than 66,000 trees have been shipped nationally to military families and troops stationed in the U.S. and abroad, with about 16,500 farms participating.
300 trees from New York were shipped weeks ago to troops in the Middle East to make it in time for the holidays.
"You have to do that early," Brown said.
Brown said one farmer, Richard Moore of Moore Tree Farm in Tompkins County, opened his farm a week early to get involved.
Art Nelson, commander of the Sons of American Legion Post 601 in Parish as well as the Oswego County post, visited Brown's farm that morning to help load the truck.
This was Nelson's first year involved, and his posts each donated $100 toward the effort. Nelson was glad to help out, knowing the lift a Christmas tree could provide to soldiers stationed away from home on Christmas.
"It's got to make those guys feel good to get something from home," Nelson said.