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Trees for Troops effort sets record
Trees WEB 1
Army Spc. William Pelfrey loads a Christmas tree donated through the Trees for Troops program. - photo by Jennifer Sami

One hundred military families in Georgia will have a brighter Christmas thanks to the generosity of the community and a local farm.

For the past decade, Bottoms Christmas Tree Farm has participated in the Trees for Troops effort.

“When we first started, we simply donated what we could donate, but the last several years we’ve asked the community to help us,” said Dennis Bottoms, who owns the north Forsyth farm with wife Sandra.

“And the schools and businesses and individuals have really supported us. People recognize what the military does for us.”

This year, several Forsyth County schools collected change to pay for many of the trees, which were discounted from their regular price.

Bottoms said the donation of 100 trees is the best yet.

Girl Scout Troop 10875 and its families also helped participate in the program by decorating ornaments, said Alison Smith, mother of a 7-year-old Scout.

“We have eight girls in our Girl Scout troop and we designated one meeting to do nothing but make homemade ornaments,” Smith said. “This is just an awesome experience for them to be a part of.”

Smith said her brother-in-law and cousin both serve in the armed forces, which makes the effort more personal.

“We’re just a very patriotic family and we really wanted to give back and this is a great way for us to … thank all these men and women for everything they do,” she said.

It makes a big difference, said Staff Sgt.  Bruce Herron, one of five military representatives who drove from Calhoun to pick up the trees Friday. 

“Especially for the ones overseas, it just means a lot … they’re just not well off,” Herron said. “The economy is rough on people and they can’t afford a Christmas tree, so this is a big blessing.”

The trees were taken to Calhoun, where they were distributed Saturday.

“We’ve gotten ‘thank you’ cards back from the families that received the trees, which I think is just fantastic,” Sandra Bottoms said. “It just means a lot to the families.”