'Trees for Troops' in the Northland

Posted at: 12/01/2012 5:13 PM
Updated at: 12/01/2012 6:21 PM
By: Maarja Anderson

It's "Trees for Troops" weekend across the nation and a tree farm here in the Northland is doing its part to donate trees to families celebrating the holidays with a soldier deployed overseas.

This is the ninth year for "Trees for Troops" at Chub Lake Tree Farm in Carlton, MN. Owner, Jim Whorton, is a veteran himself and said they do whatever they can to help troops abroad.

"It's very little we can do to help in any small way we can," said Whorton. "But we're involved in Christmas trees so it seemed like Christmas was a good time to get involved in an effort to support our troops."

They hope to send over 100 donated trees to families living at Fort Carson in Colorado, Fort Riley in Kansas, and Fort Knox in Kentucky. All of the families have a soldier currently deployed overseas.

This year Chub Lake Tree Farm had help from members of the Minnesota Army National Guard. It was last year at this time that the Crazy Troop 1st Squadron of the 94th Cavalry out of Cloquet, MN, was running convoys in northern Iraq.

"It's actually double for us because last year these same trees went to our families when we were deployed," said Sergeant First Class Troy Smith.

The troop is helping out this year because they know what it's like for families to celebrate the holidays without their soldiers.

"A Christmas tree is a small gesture," said Private Anders Lund. "But it makes a difference to someone that's overseas...their family is back here missing them."

Families finding trees for their own homes at Chub Lake Tree Farm said a real tree just simply makes the holiday.

"So that they feel like they're at Christmas, too," said Sean Keating of Carlton, MN. "They're away from their families and just to feel good about Christmas and not being home."

A $25 donation will buy a real tree for a family with a deployed soldier. FedEx then ships the trees to the base free of charge. Chub Lake Tree Farm will ship their donated trees on Monday afternoon.