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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Trees for Troops spreads holiday cheer on Pendleton

By Lance Cpl. Trevon S. Peracca | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | December 07, 2012

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Lance Cpl. Anthony D. Wilson, a field radio operator with 9th Communications Battalion, his wife, Nikki S. Wilson, and their son Anthony Wilson Jr., gather for a photograph before picking a Christmas tree, during the 2012 Trees for Troops event here Dec. 7. The Wilson family was selected in a raffle to be the first family on Camp Pendleton to receive a Christmas tree.

Lance Cpl. Anthony D. Wilson, a field radio operator with 9th Communications Battalion, his wife, Nikki S. Wilson, and their son Anthony Wilson Jr., gather for a photograph before picking a Christmas tree, during the 2012 Trees for Troops event here Dec. 7. The Wilson family was selected in a raffle to be the first family on Camp Pendleton to receive a Christmas tree. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Trevon S. Peracca)


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Aliana R. Alanis, 2, gets her face painted during the 2012 Trees for Troops event here Dec. 7.

Aliana R. Alanis, 2, gets her face painted during the 2012 Trees for Troops event here Dec. 7. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Trevon S. Peracca)


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Kimberly Engelman, the wife of deployed Sgt. Russell J. Engelman, and their son Zachary Engelman, take a photograph with a recently selected Christmas tree during the 2012 Trees for Troops event here Dec. 7.

Kimberly Engelman, the wife of deployed Sgt. Russell J. Engelman, and their son Zachary Engelman, take a photograph with a recently selected Christmas tree during the 2012 Trees for Troops event here Dec. 7. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Trevon S. Peracca)


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Pete and Penny the penguins gather for a photograph with the Red Bull girls during the 2012 Trees for Troops event here Dec. 7.

Pete and Penny the penguins gather for a photograph with the Red Bull girls during the 2012 Trees for Troops event here Dec. 7. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Trevon S. Peracca)


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Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green, sergeant major of I Marine Expeditionary Force, helps unload Christmas trees during the 2012 Trees for Troops event here Dec. 7.

Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green, sergeant major of I Marine Expeditionary Force, helps unload Christmas trees during the 2012 Trees for Troops event here Dec. 7. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Trevon S. Peracca)


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Gabriel M. Maldonado, 9, slides down the end of a children’s obstacle course during the 2012 Trees for Troops event here Dec. 7.

Gabriel M. Maldonado, 9, slides down the end of a children’s obstacle course during the 2012 Trees for Troops event here Dec. 7. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Trevon S. Peracca)


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Marines sit with Santa Claus to take a photograph during the 2012 Trees for Troops event here Dec. 7.

Marines sit with Santa Claus to take a photograph during the 2012 Trees for Troops event here Dec. 7. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Trevon S. Peracca)


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Brig. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, the base commanding general and regional authority for five military installations in the Southwestern United States, helps unload Christmas trees during the 2012 Trees for Troops event here Dec. 7.

Brig. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, the base commanding general and regional authority for five military installations in the Southwestern United States, helps unload Christmas trees during the 2012 Trees for Troops event here Dec. 7. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Trevon S. Peracca)


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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.


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