Yenser's Tree Farm in Mahoning Township celebrated Trees For Troops week on Friday morning at it's tree farm at 130 Fredericks Grove Road, Lehighton.
The tree farm took on the feeling of a party as school children, business owners, church personnel and government officials stopped by to present checks and offer their best wishes and congratulations for a job well done.
Drew Yenser, owner, welcomed the crowd of well wishers.
"We first started this program in 2005," said Yenser. "The first year a few wholesalers collected trees and loaded them through FedEx for shipping. Then businesses, school children and others wanted to get involved."
Yenser said that last year 243 trees were shipped from local tree farms in Carbon County to soldiers. He said he was also proud to say that Pennsylvania has the second highest amount of trees, with 2,000 trees shipped, last year from the commonwealth.
The program opened with a flag ceremony presented by United Veterans Organization of Lehighton.
Offering congratulations were state Rep. Doyle Heffley, Bruce Krell, director of constituent outreach for Congressman Louis Barletta's office; and Carbon County Commissioners Tom Gerhard and Wayne Nothstein.
Heffley offered his thanks to the Yenser's for their role in helping the military families during this difficult time of the year.
"This is the worst time to be away from home," said Heffley. "Celebrations are much more subdued overseas because many are serving in far-flung countries which are not Christian."
Gerhard said that he was impressed by the large number of trees that have been delivered to military families.
"It is through good people like you that makes this happen for those who protect our freedom," said Gerhard.
Nothstein said that as a veteran he knows how important it is to remember the miliary during the holidays.
"It is the lowest time of the year for military," Nothstein said.
Making monetary presentation were several children representing Mahoning Elementary School and Shull David Elementary School, accompanied by their principal, Aaron Sebelin.
Representing Shull David School were Alexis Solomon, Lukas Schatz and Taylor Duncan; and representing Mahoning Elementary was Riley Fritz, Caden Kresge and Jonathan Porambo.
Also making a presentation was Lehighton Area High School class of 1964, the Rev. Alan Heckman, pastor of Zion United Church of Christ, the Rev. Christopher DeForest, pastor of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Mahoning.
Donations were also were received from Jim Thorpe Middle School, L.B. Morris Elementary School, Lehighton Middle School, Lehighton Ford, KME, Nesquehoning; and Sue Solerano, a 31 Gifts director; R.H. Ohl, Franklin Township; First Niagra Bank; Lansford American Legion Riders; Heintzelman Meats; Wentz Auto Body; OAA, Forest Inn Masonry; Country Inn and Suites; American Legion Auxiliary; Ahner Furniture; WMGH Radio; Koch Appliances; Charles Snyder; George LaRose; Gail Christman; Dugan Real Estate; Marzen's Hardware; George's Plumbing and Heating; Ovsak Funeral Home; William Schwab Law Offices; Cheng Law Office,; Mauch Chunk Trust; William Miller Painting and others.
Trees for Troops is a nationwide program sponsored by the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Association, the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation and FedEx. Through this program, more than 100,000 Christmas trees have been delivered to military personnel and to military bases throughout the United States and overseas since 2005.
Last holiday season more than 19,300 trees were delivered to more than 70 military bases.
The collection and delivery of trees takes place from the end of November through the beginning of December. People have the opportunity to purchase trees to donate to the program at various FedEx trailer drop locations across the country.
Trees for Troops Week is celebrated Nov. 25 through Dec. 2.
Yenser's Tree Farm offers a 10 percent discount to military personnel with a current military ID card. A 20 percent discount is offered to any military family that has a member serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
During Trees for Troops Week, consumers receive a discount on their tree when they purchase a tree for Trees for Troops and contribute a donation to the Christmas Spirit Foundation which implements the Trees for Troops program and other programs for kids, families and the environment, for every tree purchased and placed on the FedEx trailer.