U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan, Bahrain and Kuwait will have a chance to connect with home this holiday season thanks to the hundreds of fresh-cut Christmas trees, along with thousands of holiday letters, menorahs, decorations and gifts that DHL Express will deliver to them from the U.S.
For a dozen years, DHL Express has teamed up with the New York community for Operation Holiday Cheer, a program that helps U.S. troops celebrate the holidays while serving abroad.
“Our appreciation for the men and women who serve to keep us safe is something we feel deeply year round, but it’s great during this giving season to deliver our thanks through Operation Holiday Cheer,” said Mike Parra, CEO of DHL Express U.S. “Year after year, we’ve been able to send some wonderful reminders of home to let our troops know we are thinking of them. DHL is proud to donate our global shipping network and to work with great community partners to get these care packages into the hands of our deserving U.S. soldiers.”
DHL Express packed up and shipped the trees, letters, menorahs, gifts and decorations Monday from Long Island-based Dees’ Nursery. From Dees’, the trees and trimmings will proceed via official police motorcade to the DHL Gateway facility at JFK International Airport, connecting with the DHL Americas Hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG). There they will be loaded onto a DHL 777 aircraft that travels non-stop to the Middle East.
New York businesses and community organizations generously donated the holiday trees and gifts, among them Dees’ Nursery; Adelis International Security; Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon; and Proctor-Hopson Post 1896 Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), including VFW members and its Ladies Auxiliary from across New York State. All the goods will be packed and shipped courtesy of DHL Express.
DHL Operation Holiday Cheer began in 2004, when the mother of a soldier who was stationed in Iraq asked Dees’ Nursery if she could buy a Christmas tree and send it to him. The nursery wanted to donate the tree but needed help shipping it overseas. Dees’ owner, Tom Di Dominica Sr., mentioned his dilemma to local businessman Jim Adelis, whose son also was stationed in Iraq.
Adelis then reached out to DHL Express and the community, and DHL Operation Holiday Cheer was created. In that first year, DHL sent 135 trees to our troops, along with lights, decorations, menorahs and holiday cards.
From that single tree in 2004, DHL Operation Holiday Cheer has since shipped thousands of trees that Dees’ Christmas tree farm in Maine has provided, along with thousands of ornaments, decorations, gifts and menorahs.