Iowa growers have donated 100 of their home grown Christmas trees to send to soldiers serving in the military. Iowa Christmas Tree Growers Association president, Gary Harman of Indianola, says it’s part of a national effort.
Harman says it’s through the National Christmas Tree Growers Association which started in 2005 and they have been involved since 2006. He says they bring in trees from growers all across the state and the trees are then shipped out by Fed Ex.
Harman says the growers don’t mind donating a tree to the effort because they know how important they can be to soldiers. “Most of us are veterans and it’s our little way of saying ‘thank-you’ to the troops and their families for the sacrifices that they’re making,” Harman says. He says most of the growers were overseas or away from home at some time during the holidays and they can relate to what the soldiers and their families are going through at Christmas time.
There are just over 100 “choose and cut” Christmas tree farms in Iowa. Harman says many of the growers hear back from the soldiers, thanking them for the donation. Harman says many of the growers get nice letters from the soldiers, and he say they often bring them to the association’s annual meeting and share them. He says they are some “very inspirational and moving letters.”
The Iowa Department of Agriculture worked with the growers to collect the trees and they were picked up this week to ship out. The Ag Department says some 57,000 trees are harvested annually in the state.
This year trees were donated by:
Mel & Jan Pacovsky, Pine Acres, New Hampton
Lee & Lynne Aldrich, Aldrich Tree Farm, Belmond
Ken & Shirley Andrews, Wickiup Tree Farm, Alburnett
Norma and Dave Bappe, Holiday Pines, Decorah
Cynthia Bruins, Indianola Tree Farm, Indianola
Andrew & Diane Davis, Scotch Hill Christmas Trees, Oskaloosa
Jerald & Cindy Deal, Deal’s Orchard. Jefferson
Jim & Gladys Dixon, Dixon Tree Farm, Norwalk
Dale & Julie Fagner, DJ Christmas Pines, Elkader
Mark & Jackie Fisher, Fisher Tree Farm, Clear Lake
Gary & Jane Harman, Walnut Ridge Farm, Indianola
Harold & Carol Hill, Hill’s Tree Farm, Minburn
Chris & Wade Hinders, Hinders Trees, Woden
Steven Hoogestraat, Hoogestraat Christmas Tree Farm, Arcadia
Mike & Renee Kidman, Kidman Tree Farm, Polk City
Mark & Twylah Kragel, Kragel Christmas Trees & Traditions, Clear Lake
Loren & Liz Kruse, Kruse Christmas Farm, Grundy Center
Bob & Karla Moulds, Wapsie Pines Tree Farm, Fairbanks
Jim & Marilyn Murphy, Murphy’s Walnut Hill Nursery, Runnells
Vernon & Sarah Rettig, Rettig Tree Farm, Bondurant
Joe & Janice Reutter, Enchanted Valley Tree Farm, Boone
Anita Shockley, Clearview Tree Farm, Bloomfield
Bob & Terry Strohbehn, Poweshiek Pines Tree Farm, Brooklyn
Jerry & Kelle VanVacter, Riverside Trees, Duncombe
Michael & Deb White, White Christmas Tree Farm, Indianola