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Shipping Company Delivers Holiday Cheer to Troops

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2008 – Express delivery company DHL is spreading holiday cheer to troops serving in the Middle East by sending hundreds of Christmas trees, holiday decorations and messages of support.

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Army Lt. Col. Sean Shumaker thanks the New York community, Dee’s Nursery and DHL for delivering trees and holiday items when he was stationed at Camp Anaconda in Iraq. DHL courtesy photo
  

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The company, based in Plantation, Fla., hosted its annual Trees for Troops send-off this week at DHL's gateway at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. Since 2004, DHL has collected and sent thousands of live holiday trees, lights, ornaments, menorahs and letters of support from children and community members to troops serving abroad.

“It was heartwarming to see the local community pull together its resources to deliver hundreds of trees and holiday items to our brave men and women serving in the Middle East,” said Cain Moodie, director of Gateway Operations, DHL Express USA. “The veterans groups, children, DHL staff and other community members participating shared a strong desire to support our troops and help them feel connected to home while serving so far away.”

This year, DHL teamed up with Dee's Nursery in Oceanside, N.Y., the New York State Veterans of Foreign Wars and other members of the New York metro community to collect Christmas items to be sent to troops.

In addition, "Santa sacks" filled with thousands of holiday cards written by local school children accompanied the shipment. The New York shipment will be consolidated with a second shipment of additional trees and care packages from southern California.

"DHL is pleased to utilize its extensive U.S. and global network to deliver holiday cheer and uplift the spirits of those away from their loved ones this season," said Adrian Watts, managing director of government sales and for DHL Express.

DHL launched its Trees for Troops program four years ago after Jim Adelis, a New York businessman, overheard a woman at Dees Nursery inquiring about how to ship a Christmas tree to her son in Iraq. Adelis, whose son also was stationed in Iraq at the time, was inspired to reach out to DHL and the local community to deliver more than just a single tree.

In November and December 2004, with the help the U.S. Army Reserve’s 77th Regional Readiness Command, Dees Nursery and the New York metro community, DHL delivered two shipments of 135 trees and holiday decorations from JFK to troops stationed at Camp Anaconda in Balad, Iraq.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageWorkers and volunteers unload holiday trees from a truck at express shipping company DHL's New York gateway to be loaded onto a company aircraft, with the assistance of community groups, police departments and other members of the local community, for delivery to U.S. forces in the Middle East. DHL courtesy photo  
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