Christmas trees, letters, gifts headed to U.S. troops overseas

- Fresh-cut Christmas trees and thousands of holiday letters, decorations and gifts were loaded onto trucks, driven to Kennedy Airport, and then hand-packed onto a plane headed to the Middle East.

"No one in my immediate family served," said Joe DiDominica with Dees' Nursery & Florist. "We wanted to do something to support the military, the men and women who serve. This was our way of doing it." 

Operation Holiday Cheer is now in its 15th year. With the help of DHL, Dees' Nursery in Oceanside, New York, has donated and sent more than 10,000 trees and trimmings to U.S. servicemen and women stationed throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.

Col. Tom Sullivan has been on both the sending and receiving end.

"The first thing that comes to mind is that you haven't been forgotten," Sullivan said. "The trees are great, the care packages are great but there's nothing like getting a letter from these school kids."

Volunteers and crew loaded 500 trees onto a Boeing 767. It took a lot of teamwork but that's what the holiday season is all about.

"To have that bit of home while they're away serving our country is very important for them and for us," DHL's Matt Bonowitz said.

The trees will travel nonstop from Cincinnati to the Middle East and are expected to be distributed in time for Christmas.

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