Chilly temperatures and windy conditions made the day feel a bit like Christmas.

Spc. Sterie Crisan’s fingers were cold because he forgot to bring gloves to the annual Trees for Troops at Fort Hood Stadium last week.

Crisan’s wife had been waiting in line for the gates to open, but called her husband to come and take her place.

“Suffering is better when it’s shared,” Crisan said.

That sentiment was echoed by Mary Castle and Francelia Cooper, who waited in the line partially wrapped in a blanket being shared by Stephanie Krupp.

The three military spouses were glad to be receiving a free tree.

“It’s the first time we’ll have a real tree,” Castle said, as her son, 1-year-old Larry, nestled against her in a winter coat and hat.

Krupp agreed. “It’s awesome!”

Kwanesha Joseph wore a very large blue knit hat on her head. “It’s my son’s hat,” she laughed. She was delighted that the tree would help her 3-year-old have a good Christmas.

For Stephanie Lopez, getting a free tree had profound meaning. “We’re struggling,” she said, holding onto her 1-year-old daughter Amelia Rivera’s hand. “We’re trying to help our family in Puerto Rico.”

Lopez wasn’t sure if Amelia would remember the tree. “I really hope she doesn’t pull the ornaments off it.”

Pfc. Brandon Colon took a bit of time to size up the trees stacked near the stadium’s grandstand. “I’m taking it to the office,” he said. “I want to liven it up a bit.”

Soldiers offered mini donuts and mini muffins to those waiting in line, and were available to help carry the trees being selected, especially for those carrying children or pushing strollers.

This year, 300 trees are being distributed to Fort Hood soldiers and their families, according to Brandi Crist, chief of community recreation for Fort Hood’s Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

A program of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, Trees for Troops provides free, farm-grown Christmas trees to members of all U.S. military branches and their families.

jferraro@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7568

254-501-7568 | jferraro@kdhnews.com

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