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Support troops with trees

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

A Hampton tree farm will once again be helping American military families celebrate Christmas. The Worthington Tree Farm, 145 Twin Oaks Drive, is participating in Trees for Troops for the third year in a row, and will help send more than 120 trees to soldier's homes.

Fir trees donated by growers, retailers and consumers will be collected at the Hampton farm, next week, and FedEx will deliver the trees to service members stationed at 25 bases throughout the world, Earl Worthington said.

"At the last count, there's 120 trees coming here for pickup," Worthington said. "I'm a Christmas tree grower and I appreciate what our servicemen are doing. It's the thing we got to do: Support our servicemen."

The Worthington farm has been participating in the national Christmas tree donation program since it started in 2005. The family feels an additional urgency in supporting the troops this year, though, since Adrian Worthington, Earl's grandson, was killed while serving in Iraq in May.

"Providing memories at this time of year is extremely important," Worthington said, "especially for families with loved ones serving our country."

Started by the Christmas Spirit Foundation three years ago, more than 15,000 live trees will be delivered to military families this Christmas season. The Christmas Spirit Foundation's web site features messages from soldiers' families at Army, Navy and Air Force bases around the country and world,saying how much they appreciate the trees.

Crew members from the USS Bunker Hill reported the donated Christmas trees had been placed on the Mess Decks, Chief's Mess, and Wardroom. A Marine's wife, at California's Camp Pendleton, wrote saying she appreciated "the genuine up-front, in-your-face support for our troops."

Going through infantry training at Ft. Benning, a soldier wrote to say he and his wife were having their first Christmas away from home, and were sad they didn't have a tree, when the donated fir came to the base.

This weekend, residents of the Southern Crescent can support the effort by buying a tree and donating it to the Trees for Troops program between Friday, Nov. 30, and Sunday, Dec. 2. Trees can be purchased at the Worthington farm. Other locations participating in the effort in the Southern Crescent include:

Yule Forest, 3565 Highway 155, in Stockbridge.

Homestead Christmas Tree Farm, 3850 Highway 81 West, in Hampton.

Brown's Christmas Tree Farm, 86 Minter Drive, in Hampton.

Donations can also be made online at www.christmastreefoundation.org