MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) and some of its partnering corporations hosted the annual Trees for Troops event at the Wire Mountain Housing softball field at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Dec. 1, 2018.
Trees for troops is an event put on for service members and their families, providing them with different booths and festivities, and a free Christmas tree giveaway.
This year, over 600 trees were provided for the personnel of MCB Camp Pendleton, in addition to free Christmas stockings, a petting zoo, pictures with Santa and a variety of other holiday festivities, and for some Marines, these festivities are a well-received, “welcome home.”
“Last year, I was in Japan for Christmas on a [Unit Deployment Program], and to keep it simple, it sucked; especially since it was during the holidays,” said Raymond Proctor, an infantry machine gunner with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment and father to two girls. “I felt really sad and lonely being away from my family, but now it feels great to be back, and I’m really grateful that MCCS puts on events like this for us.”
Providing service members with amenities and festivities totally free of charge to them is a great way to show support, which is what MCCS strives to do on a daily basis.
“Not only is this an opportunity for the command to get together with the marines, but being able to provide the Marines and Sailors with a free Christmas tree saves them money, and that money back in their pockets enables them to do additional things with their families,” said Scott Graham, MCCS marketing director for Marine Corps Installations-West. “These free activities for the [Marines, Sailors and their families] are just one of the many ways that we give back to them for what they do.”
Christmas trees are one of the most iconic symbols of holiday spirit, found in almost any home around this time of year. Trees for Troops is provided to them to ensure that, whether at home or deployed overseas, that service members and their families get the best holiday experience for them and their loved ones.
“For my family, this is amazing,” said Proctor. “This is one of the greatest gifts I could ever ask for. If it wasn’t for this, I wouldn’t have any idea where I could get a Christmas tree, and this is a tradition that I will do every year with my family.”