Trees for Troops spreads holiday cheer on Pendleton
By Lance Cpl. Trevon S. Peracca
| Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | December 07, 2012
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Pines scented the air, children bounced in an inflatable castle and holiday tunes played as more than a thousand people gathered here for a Christmas-tree giveaway Dec. 7.
By 7 a.m., people had already lined up to receive their raffle and tree ticket. Raffles were held for prizes including the Golden Ticket for the first Christmas tree.
Lance Cpl. Anthony D. Wilson, winner of the Golden Ticket, said he wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to afford a tree this year. Winning the Golden Ticket gave Wilson with his wife, Nikki S. Wilson and child the chance to pick out their favorite tree together.
The Trees for Troops program, sponsored by the Christmas Spirit Foundation, visited base for its eighth consecutive year and delivered nearly 900 trees.
Every year the program delivers an average of 17,000 trees to more than 60 military bases around the country.
Trees were delivered to the Mainside location and to the Seaside Square on the northern part of base, to accommodate service members and families throughout base.
“I think Trees for Troops is one of the most heart-warming and patriotic events that we have the honor of executing each year,” said Christina J. Chilleme, the special events manager for Marine Corps Community Services. “Being able to be a part of bringing joy to our service members and their families is what makes this event worthwhile.”
The program began as a way to give back to the service members and their families here by providing trees from FedEx and the Christmas Spirit Foundation. The program has grown from a simple tree giveaway into an event with entertainment, sponsors, raffles and activities.
“This program has definitely helped our family save money during our holiday season,” said Wilson, a field radio operator with 9th Communications Battalion.
The Mainside event featured Santa Claus, Santa's Craft and Hobby Workshop, face painting, holiday music, a bounce house, rock climbing, a children’s obstacle course, a paintball experience and the opportunity to meet characters from Sea World.
“It's always a good feeling knowing you're coming together for the common goal of honoring our Marines, sailors and families with the quality events and programs they deserve,” Chilleme said.