Indiana Deployed Soldiers Receive Christmas Trees from Home

25 Nov

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – Indiana Army National Guardsmen from the 38th Sustainment Brigade received Hoosier-grown Christmas trees, donated by the Indiana Christmas Tree Grower Association, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Dec. 13.

“It is always good to have a piece of home and the Christmas trees do that for us here,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Vedder, 38th SB’s deputy commander from Lafayette, Ind. “We just want to express a warm thanks to all those folks that made this possible and thinking about us this holiday season.”

The Indiana Christmas Tree Grower Association has been sending trees abroad for the last six years and donated 300 trees as part of the 2012 Trees for Troops project. The trees were shipped from Indiana on Nov. 20, with a partnership with FedEx Corporation according to their website http://www.indianachristmastree.com.

“It’s a great show of Hoosier hospitality and patriotism of the Christmas tree growers of Indiana and shipping trees over here to Hoosiers,” said Col. Deedra Thombleson, 38th SB commander from Martinsville, Ind.

The 38th SB picked up the trees from the Camp Virginia USO. The USO received the trees to pass out to service members throughout Kuwait. The USO has been working with the Trees for Troops to spread the Christmas cheer to deployed men and women.

Keon Moore, the assistant logistics manager for the USO at Camp Virginia, said he enjoyed being part of giving trees to service members and doing “something to make you feel like it’s Christmas. That is an awesome feeling for us. We appreciate you guys being happy.”

Eighteen Christmas trees are being displayed outside the 38th SB’s work tents. The Soldiers will be decorating the trees for a little friendly competition among the sections. Each section was encouraged to be creative with decorating the trees.

Sgt. Rhandi Thomas, medic from Portland, Ind., said she was ready to decorate her section’s Christmas tree and that the contest makes it even better.

“I think it is amazing. If we are going to be here at Christmas time we might as well have fun with it.”

“I think it draws them closer to the holidays and brings them back to their roots of Indiana. It will increase the morale and just seeing them smile as they decorate the trees. They are now playing Christmas music in their tents. It will raise their spirit and morale around the holidays,” said Thombleson.

The soldiers of the 38th expressed how thankful they were to have the trees. Sgt. Wolgan Ramos, administrative specialist from Van Buren, Ind., “I would like to thank the people that were responsible for making this happen. Our section is very excited to get these trees. The smell of that fresh pine too; it just really hits you and you really can’t get that smell around here.”

Indiana Army National Guardsman Sgt. Rhandi Thomas, medic from Portland, Ind., gets in the Christmas spirit while decorating her section’s medical-themed Christmas tree on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. The 38th Sustainment Brigade based in Kokomo, Ind., received Christmas trees from the Indiana Christmas Tree Grower Association. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Tina R. Eichenour, 38th Sustainment Brigade)   Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/image/803490/hoosier-christmas-trees-overseas#.UpQU2MSsiSo#ixzz2licG8bKn

Indiana Army National Guardsman Sgt. Rhandi Thomas, medic from Portland, Ind., gets in the Christmas spirit while decorating her section’s medical-themed Christmas tree on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. The 38th Sustainment Brigade based in Kokomo, Ind., received Christmas trees from the Indiana Christmas Tree Grower Association. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Tina R. Eichenour, 38th Sustainment Brigade)

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