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Tree for Troops program brings smiles to Cherry Point military community

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It was an early-morning start as cars were lined up with active and retired service members anxiously awaiting their free Christmas tree. (Greg Payne, NewsChannel 12 photo)

Christmas cheer came to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point on Friday.

For the past 14 years, FedEx holds its Trees for Troops program. It was an early-morning start as cars were lined up with active and retired service members anxiously awaiting their free Christmas tree.

Lucian Noble is a retired service member who was first in line for a tree. She said she remembers once being on the other end of this event. She and the others in line as soon as the drivers got the cue to go. They were the ones who not only delivered the 400-plus free trees but also loaded them for the service members as well.

"I grew up as a military brat," said Thomas Putnam, FedEx Managing Director of District Operations. "I grew up on base. I know how a lot of families are without a significant other and children are without. It's just ... you get to have some normalcy. I think it is a very, very important for these guys, so it's a back deal for us."

It was also a fun time for members of the military community, too.

"We like to do special events like this for the families," said Beth McKenzie, Cherry Point MCCS Marketing Director. "Anytime we can bring some relaxation, some Christmas spirit, we try to do stuff like that for them when we can for them."

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