(COLORADO SPRINGS) — 425 Christmas trees were delivered to Fort Carson on Friday evening, Dec. 9 as part of the “Trees for Troops” program.

The Strickland family started waiting at 3 p.m. to pick out the perfect Christmas tree.

“So that’s why we had a line all the way wrapped around the softball fields,” said Lorraine Thorson, Fort Caron Intramural Sports Director. “But it’s exceptional, it’s why we do what we do, and I’m so happy.”

FedEx Freight and Christmas SPIRIT Foundation worked together to deliver nearly 15,000 trees to over 80 military bases.

“Well, number one, Christmas starts with a Christmas tree,” said Marvin Hill, Project Management Advisor at FedEx Freight. “And so, again, we’re just proud to be able to be a part of spending Christmas, a part of Christmas with these military families.”

Hill, who was working the event, recalled past memories when he was in service celebrating Christmas.

“Well, it brings back memories, for one. It brings back memories from when I was in the military and I received the Christmas tree out of Trees for Troops in Afghanistan,” said Hill. “So it was just great. And it’s even great as well to be on the giving end of the tree and just knowing what it means to these military families.”

Six-year-old Elijah White was excited to pick out a Christmas tree for his grandma.

“I just didn’t know which one and then I found the perfect one” said White. “And then this one, I just found it and then dad got it.”

Each Christmas tree is special with a handwritten note with holiday wishes.

“Well, when the FedEx drivers dropped off the trees today, which kind of neat they explain to us these trees came from Lambeau Field, Wisconsin,” said Thorson. “And that the little cards on it, there were children that actually signed off on these cards knowing that they were going to be going to the troops so that made the trees even more special.”

Coming out of the pandemic, Thorson explained they set up the trees this year to feel like you were in a Christmas tree lot.

“I think coming out of the pandemic, we had restrictions in the previous years where they couldn’t even get out of their vehicles,” said Thorson. “So that’s why we put them in like we did tonight.”

A range of people selected Christmas trees – from families with little kids to soldiers to newly weds.

“I saw some families, three or four kids…. children but then I actually saw some single soldiers,” said Thorson. “So that was exceptional to see that.”