For more than two decades, members of the Ohio Christmas Tree Association have banded together for “Operation Evergreen.” Its mission is to send fresh Christmas trees to troops serving overseas in areas where the smell of fresh pine is hard to come by.
On Monday, the donated trees were sent to Galehouse Tree Farms in Doylestown, Ohio.
Amy Galehouse, owner of Galehouse Tree Farms, is the coordinator of Operation Evergreen. She's been working with the Ohio Christmas Tree Association year after year, along with veterans and local students to provide about 170 trees and thousands of ornaments for our troops.
“When I was younger, I lived overseas. It was kind of neat to get things from home,” Galehouse said.
Operation Evergreen is a tough and costly endeavor. They are shipped quickly and with care to help keep them alive.
“We ship them as if they were cut flowers,” said Galehouse.
The tree farmers use machines to shake off all of the debris before the fresh trees are wrapped and prepped for shipment. The cost of shipping just one tree is almost $80 - made possible thanks to generous donations.
“We appreciate our military personnel. We want to send some Christmas cheer,” said Mary Jan Perdulla, owner of Pioneer Trails Tree Farm.
Numerous letters from previous Operation Evergreen missions prove the generous effort and costs are worth it.
The trees are set to arrive for the troops by Thanksgiving, so they can enjoy the fresh pine trees through the entire holiday season.
The Ohio Christmas Tree Association started sending trees to Bosnia then to Kosovo, Qatar, Iraq, Afghanistan and now to Kuwait.