John Zeller, owner of Snowy Pines Nursery in Greencastle, has been contributing trees to the Trees for Troops campaign since the first year the campaign went national several years ago.
"I believe Michigan contributed trees in 2004, the following year the National Christmas Tree Grower's Association (NCTGA) took it up and I've been contributing trees annually since 2005," he said.
At about 6 feet, the average Christmas tree takes about seven years of growth and nurturing to reach that height. That's seven years of pruning, cleaning, mowing and other tasks -- a hefty contribution of time and energy.
Zeller thinks it is a great way to show the spirit of Christmas, and a simple way to make a hard time a little easier for the troops and their families back home.
"The trees may help the troops and their families feel more positive," he said. "A Christmas tree is such an important part of my idea of Christmas time, of family and being home. I'm happy to help share that with the troops and their families."
In 2007, the NCTGA contributed 17,000 live trees to be delivered to troops overseas and stateside. This year Indiana's Christmas Tree Growers Association (ICTGA) members are contributing 220 trees.
Half the trees are going to the Navy 5th Fleet and Coast Guard stationed in Bahrain, and the rest of the trees are staying stateside.
On Wednesday, Zeller transported his trees to Dull's Tree Farm in northern Indiana to be inspected by DNR and shipped out via FedEx.
To contribute, contact the Christmas Spirit Foundation (the division of NCTGA that handles Trees for Troops) online at www.christmastree.org or by calling Judy Reifenberg (Secretary of ICTGA) at (877) 873-3712.
For more information locally, you can contact Snowy Pines Christmas Tree Farm at 653-5304.