Through its Operation Holiday Cheer program, DHL will be delivering holiday spirit to American troops serving abroad. Starting Dec. 5, the mailing services provider began delivering about 500 Christmas trees, decorated with lights and ornaments, to soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Bahrain this year. The company also delivers holiday letters, menorahs, decorations and gifts.
The program began in 2004 when the mother of a soldier who was stationed in Iraq asked Dees' Nursery in Oceanside, New York, 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. They reached out to DHL Express and the community, and DHL Operation Holiday Cheer was created. Since then, DHL has delivered more than 9,000 trees to soldiers overseas.
"Operation Holiday Cheer is a chance for DHL to show our gratitude to our troops in a big way during this country's most important holiday season," Greg Hewitt, CEO of DHL Express U.S., said in a statement. "It is an important tradition for all of us in DHL — the chance to work with community partners and deploy our global shipping network — and one we look forward to every year. For me personally, it's one of the best presents I receive, because it's a chance to give the gift of thanks to our soldiers."
The trees are paid for by Dees' Nursery, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and New York area businesses and citizens. DHL donates its international express delivery services.