DHL Operation Holiday Cheer is delivering hundreds of Christmas trees, holiday decorations and messages to U.S. troops stationed overseas
New York, N.Y. - Hundreds of fresh-cut Christmas trees, together with thousands of holiday letters, menorahs, decorations and gifts, will be on their way to members of the U.S. military stationed far from home, courtesy of DHL Express. They will be landing in U.S. bases in Afghanistan, Bahrain and Kuwait just in time to make it feel like the holidays back home—down to the fragrance of the trees that soldiers will be able to trim. Operation Holiday Cheer, one of many charitable programs that DHL runs, is now in its fourteenth year, with DHL Express once again teaming up with the New York community to deliver this welcome bit of home at holiday time.
“Operation Holiday Cheer is one of the ways that DHL can say thank you to our service men and women for all they do,” said Greg Hewitt, CEO of DHL Express U.S. “The New York community is a great partner with us, and we are only too happy to put our expertise in global shipping to work for this great cause. Of the thousands of holiday deliveries that DHL makes this time of year, Operation Holiday Cheer is among the most rewarding—both for our company and for me, personally.”
Operation Holiday Cheer launches at 9:45 a.m. on Monday, December 4, when DHL Express picks up trees, letters, menorahs, gifts and decorations the company has packed from Long Island-based Dees’ Nursery. Local community and veterans groups, schools and Nassau County dignitaries will be on hand—although the most important personage will undoubtedly be Santa, who will come bearing gifts from DHL. Local schoolchildren and the Girl Scouts of Nassau County will read aloud letters they wrote to soldiers. The USO Show Troupe will also make an appearance, performing a variety of holiday and patriotic songs.
From Dees’, the trees and trimmings will proceed via official police motorcade to the DHL Gateway facility at JFK International Airport, where they will fly to the DHL Americas Hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG). There they will be loaded onto a DHL 777 aircraft that travels nonstop to the Middle East.
Local businesses and community organizations generously donated the holiday trees and gifts, including a donation from the Lt. Dennis W Zilinski Memorial Fund.
Special Santa shout-outs go to Dees’ Nursery; Adelis International Security; Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon; and Proctor-Hopson Post 1896 Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), including VFW members from across New York State.
DHL Operation Holiday Cheer began in 2004, when the mother of a soldier who was stationed in Iraq asked Dees’ Nursery if she could buy a Christmas tree and send it to him. The nursery wanted to donate the tree but needed help shipping it overseas. Dees’ owner, Tom Di Dominica Sr., mentioned his dilemma to local businessman Jim Adelis, whose son also was stationed in Iraq. Adelis then reached out to DHL Express and the community, and DHL Operation Holiday Cheer was born. In that first year, DHL sent 135 trees to our troops, along with lights, decorations, menorahs and holiday cards.
From that single tree in 2004, DHL Operation Holiday Cheer has since shipped thousands of trees that Dees’ Christmas tree farm in Maine has provided, along with thousands of ornaments, decorations, gifts and menorahs.