VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - For military families, the holidays can be tough, especially if a loved one is deployed. The Trees for Troops program is helping the family with one part of the holidays: Getting a Christmas tree for free.
"To be able to be so far away from home and get a tree is pretty special," said Bryce Bowlin, a Petty Officer Third Class in the Navy.
Bowlin spent Monday morning looking around the tree lot set up at Fort Story with his wife and young daughter. "I was in boot camp last year, so this is our first Christmas together as a family," he said.
This year more than 660 Christmas trees are up for grabs, which is more than initially expected due to an extra load of trees. "Unfortunately, part of being in the military - you may be away from extended family in the holidays or even loved ones in your immediate families are deployed - so this is an opportunity to bring some normalcy," said Army Lt. Col. Bryan Donohue, the Deputy Joint Base Commander.
The program is sponsored by the Christmas Spirit Foundation and FedEx. Military families have received more than 225,000 trees since 2005.
"It's incredible for them to be providing this for us," said Mayra Fleming, a Navy wife.