Area Christmas farms donate trees for troops

Area Christmas farms donate trees for troops

The holidays can be bittersweet for many military families as they celebrate away from home – but a group of area Christmas tree farms is helping to make their military bases feel more festive this year.

Seven Christmas tree farmers from Wisconsin donated their time and trees to Trees for Troops, an effort to ship Christmas trees to bases across the country.

In its 10th year, Trees for Troops has delivered 17,000 trees to military families spending the holiday season in a foreign place.

“People don’t realize that even though war isn’t in the news every single day, there are many men and women overseas who can’t celebrate the Christmas,” says Greg Hann, owner of Hann’s Christmas Farm outside Oregon. “We’re trying to do our part in donating and making [their] holiday a little bit brighter.”

For one tree farmer helping out this year, the task means just a little more.

“Christmas, I think, is all about family and family traditions and stuff like that, and a lot of families are separated because of the military at Christmas time,” says Alan Motl, owner of Riverside Christmas Trees in Marshall.

Motl knows firsthand how that can feel – his son left home this past June to join the Marines and was unable to join the family for Thanksgiving this year.

“Now we get to know what the military families have to deal with,” he says.

Motl says following that experience, he decided to join the Troops for Trees effort.

“We just thought it was the right thing to do to be a part of this organization,” he says.

Among the area tree farms participating this year are Hann’s farm, along with Skyline Tree Farm in Beaver Dam, Riverside Christmas Trees in Marshall, Cooks’ Woods in Lancaster, the Paint Farm in Poynette, Comstock Trees and Service in Black River Falls and Silent Night Evergreens in Endeavor.

More than 130 trees in our area were shipped out Monday with help from FedEx, which trucks them for free. This year’s shipment went to Fort Huachuca in Arizona.