VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - An annual giveaway is helping make sure every military child has a tree to stand over their presents Christmas morning.
The 14th Trees for Troops was held at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story on Saturday.
Fort Story Morale Wellness and Recreation (MWR) joined with other volunteers to give out 150 trees, provided by the Christmas Spirit Foundation, for free. This year's trees were FedExed from Maine.
“You can’t help but feel happy when you start seeing families coming in, getting a tree and in this time of COVID, in this time of need, it’s really hard for them," said Karen Williams with MWR.
Invited families arrived to the Fort Story giveaway location at their pre-selected time, picked out their tree and headed out on their way. Volunteers on hand helped at each step, including with sawing the trunk.
"Everything they’ve provided for the military, it’s been really nice," said Brandon Bunney, who, along with his wife, is active duty in the Navy. They came with their two young children. “This will be the first real tree for our complete family."
For Williams and the other volunteers, seeing happy families leave with a tree in tow, is the greatest gift they could get this holiday season.
“I think we were put on this planet to help one another and so if I can make someone smile, if you can make someone smile, a soldier, a Marine, a Sailor, this is all worth it," she told News 3.
Since 2005, the Trees for Troops program has touched the lives of more than 243,000 military families at 70 bases across the United States and overseas.