It’s that time of year again! Free Christmas tree for our troops.

On Dec. 7, outside of Hood Stadium more than 250 people stood in line waiting to bring a tree home to their families thanks to the Trees for Troops initiative.

The day started with chilly temperatures and the smell of pine which made the day feel a bit like Christmas.

Pals Spc. James Daw and Spc. Bailey Summers were among those in line. The duo waited in line for two hours before the stadium gates opened for the long line of people to proceed in getting a tree.

Daw said it was his wife who told him about the program and he shared the news with Summers.

“I never had a real tree in my house before so I am excited,” Daw said.

Summers said he couldn’t wait to bring the fresh tree home to his wife and one-year-old son.

Spc. Nathan Rakow, of the 1st Cavalry Division Band, was also on hand to grab a tree for his family.

He told the Herald that his wife held a place for him in line before he arrived.

“We heard about the Trees for Troops program that offers free Christmas trees for lower enlisted and it helps relieve the financial burden of decorating the house,” Rakow said. “It really helps sets the mood for Christmas.”

Derrick Perry of Fort Hood’s Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, said they announced the event on Facebook and it was on first-come, first served basis.

“We normally start out with the E-1 to E-4s, the lower enlisted soldiers and the remaining will go to the E-5s and above,” he said.

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.

Since 2005, the program has distributed more than 225,000 Christmas trees to military families. | 254-501-7567

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