Michigan Christmas Tree Farms Donate Trees for Troops

For military personnel and their families, celebrating the season without a deployed loved one or far away from extended family and friends, any sense of normalcy is a welcome relief.

Enter Michigan Christmas tree growers, who banded together to collect and donate over 1,000 trees this year as part of a national initiative called Trees for Troops, which started in 2005. The Michigan trees were sent to Fort Benning, a United States Army base in Georgia.

Collection events took place at Dutchman Tree Farms in Manton and Wahmhoff Farms Nursery in Gobles at the end of November. Many tree farms throughout the state contributed to the effort.

Tree collection day at Wahmhoff Farms Nursery. Photo courtesy of Marsha Gray
Tree collection day at Wahmhoff Farms Nursery. Photo courtesy of Marsha Gray

Blessing military families with a real, live symbol of Christmas is meaningful to her family, explained Betsy Wahmhoff-Perales, who coordinates the volunteer effort at Wahmhoff Farms Nursery. Her dad served in the Army, her son in the Marines, and her nephew is currently serving in the Navy. A niece also plans to go into the Air Force and that’s just within her immediate family.

At the end of the collection day, 706 trees were loaded up on FedEx trailers and whisked away from Wahmhoff Farms Nursery for their final holiday destination.

“That’s 706 families at Fort Benning celebrating around a real Christmas tree,” Wahmhoff-Perales said.

Donating trees is one small way to thank the people who “keep our country safe and protect the freedoms we have,” Wahmhoff-Perales said. “We’ve got those because we have the military there to protect us.”

Marsha Gray is the executive director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association. She said Michigan growers have participated in the Trees for Troops program since it started and annually donate over 1,000 trees. Gray said decorations and tree stands are also provided with help from Michigan tree farmers.

Since the national program started, more than 176,096 Christmas trees have been provided to military families and troops in the United States and overseas. More than 18,000 trees will be donated and delivered to close to 65 military bases, including some overseas locations, this year.

Want to help a military member or family have a happier holiday? You can find out more about Trees for Troops and donate at their website.   

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Main image photo credit: Mackenzie Brunson, thumbnail image courtesy of Marsha Gray

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