Local farm helps give Christmas trees to active-duty military
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Hundreds of Christmas trees were loaded up into FedEx trucks Friday morning at Stokoe Farms.
It’s part of Trees for Troops, a program that delivers live Christmas trees to active-duty military members and their families. In their 19 years, they’ve delivered over 300,000 trees across the country.
News10NBC’s Hailie Higgins got a look at all that goes into program Friday morning.
Over 200 Christmas trees were picked up Friday, destined for troops across the country. Suzanne Stokoe is the owner of Stokoe Farms. Year-round, she and her team grow, tend, and trim the tens of thousands of trees by hand. After about five years, they’re off to the customers.
But the Stokoes always save a few, for Trees for Troops. This year, they set aside about 150 trees that will be sent off to families of military members.
Suzanne’s father started the tradition 19 years ago, when the program began.
“We just thought it was a really great way for Christmas tree farmers to show their appreciation to our military families. And I’ve been bale to carry on that tradition,” says Suzanne.
Stokoe Farms is the pickup point for ten local farms. Other donors include Wilbert’s Tree Farm in Webster and Darling’s Tree Farm in Ontario County. Owner Dick Darling is the national chairman for tree for troops.
“We wanted to get something to honor our soldiers and work together for them. And its worked out real well for us. People appreciate it, and we get a lot of nice comments from families and whatever, and I think we’ll continue on for a long time,” says Darling.
One truck of trees will go to the Langely Air Force base in Virginia. The second truck will end up at the Marine Corps air station in Cherry Point, in North Carolina. FedEx ships all the trees for free.
“It’s just a simple way to give back I guess, thee guys ,during the Christmas season, holiday season — I think one of the things that forgotten about is that troops and everybody that’s overseas and away from family,” says Brian Wilbert, family owner of Wilbert’s Tree Farm. “It’s just the simplest way to give back to these guys.”
After 15 years of his family donating, Brian says he still gets the same feeling every year.
“You’re proud, just proud to give something. It’s the least you can do,” says Brian.
Both trucks will take about two days to get to their final destination.