Ohio group collects Trees for Troops

CHESTERLAND, Ohio - What's Christmas without a Christmas tree? One Ohio group wants to make sure no military personnel fighting the good fight overseas goes without a little holiday cheer this season.

The Ohio Christmas Tree Association, made up of several local tree growers throughout the state, is collecting 100 trees and getting ready to ship them out. One local farm helping out is Sugar Pines Tree Farm in Chesterland. They are sending a few trees and money that comes from donations. 

They have a special field called the 'feel good field.' It's filled with little Charlie Brown type trees. They are free, but Sugar Pines is asking for a small donation; they say the response last year was great. The donations will help pay to ship trees overseas.

"If a little bit of home is helpful then I think it's important to do what we can," said Jane Neubauer, Owner of Sugar Pines Tree Farm.

Neubauer is not new to giving back. She and her husband, Fritz know the importance of paying it forward. "I can't imagine what it feels like to be the one that's gone," said Neubauer.

The cause also hits close to home 

"My father was a World War II veteran," said Fritz Neubauer, Owner of Sugar Pines Tree Farm.

Sugar Pines Tree Farm is just one of a handful of growers donating trees and money to Operation Evergreen.

"Believe it or not, it costs more to ship a Christmas tree overseas than it does to grow one," said Neubauer. "$150-$160 per tree," she said.

News 5 was told that is the negotiated discount price. Collectively, all the growers will raise upwards of $15,000, all of which goes toward shipping. 

Neubauer says often, they receive letters of thanks like this one that read, "Such a great feeling to have hands on the sap of a live tree this time of year," one person writes.

The Pines and Firs are all 6 feet tall and are en route to Akron. 

"From there they go to Kuwait, and from there they get disseminated at the different military bases," said Neubauer. 

When the men and women in uniform open up their boxes they will find not only a tree; they will find ornaments and hand crafted cards from kids and locals from the state of Ohio.

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