Trees for Troops: Donated Christmas trees being shipped overseas

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OCEANSIDE -

Santa Claus and some of his elves were at John F. Kennedy International Airport to help prepare a special delivery for brave men and women who are serving the country.

The initiative is called Trees for Troops. Dee's Nursery of Oceanside and DHL teamed up with many Long Islanders to donate and deliver free Christmas trees to U.S. servicemen and women overseas.

"They're risking their lives, they're away from their families this time of the year, the holiday season. If we can give them a little bit of Christmas, then it's a good thing," says Cain Moodie, DHL senior vice president of operations.

Since it began 14 years ago, the mission has really taken root. This year, 500 trees are being shipped to U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Children have also made heartfelt cards, which are being delivered with the trees.

Rockville Centre resident Marianna Winchester says her son, 1st Lt. Ronald Winchester, loved receiving the Christmas trees. He was killed in action in 13 years ago.

"Even after the period in which he was killed in 2004, we continue to send the trees over, and his men still receive the trees and it's kept his memory alive," she says.

Service members say what they love most is the smell of the trees, because the scent of fresh pine reminds them of being home for the holidays.

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