Nearly 500 Christmas trees donated to military families at Fort Leonard Wood
Two trucks full of Christmas trees - 476 Christmas tress to be exact - arrived at Fort Leonard Wood on Tuesday from all across the country.
They were donated by tree farms and residents of Illinois, Oregon, New York, and Missouri.
Despite months of planning and preparation, it didn't take long for families to find the perfect tree for their homes.
"I think it's a good tree. We were looking for a lot of girth, and something really green," said Staff Sgt. Andrew Gonzales of Houston, Texas. "So, I think this will fit our house perfectly."
The Gonzales family was one of hundreds of military families getting their choice for free thanks to the "Trees for Troops" program, now in its 12th year at Fort Leonard Wood.
FedEx and the Christmas Spirit Foundation partner up to make it happen.
"FedEx donates their time, their drivers, the gas, all of that to deliver these trees to not only Fort Leonard Wood, but a lot of installations all across the U.S.," said Megan O'Donoghue, Service and Support Director for Family and Morale Welfare Recreation.
Each Douglas Fir has a tag on it, many showing where the tree came from. Some of those tags are decorated with a Christmas greeting, others have a handwritten holiday message.
O'Donoghue says her favorite part of the event is seeing the excitement in the families faces.
"Watching the little ones pick out their tree, watching our soldiers and our drill sergeants come in and get just as excited as those little ones picking out their tree," O'Donogue said. "When I see them being carried off, you know that it's going to find a home and it's going to make someone's holidays happier."
Military families at Fort Leonard Wood have until Wednesday to stop by and pick up a Christmas tree for free.