Oceanside, N.Y. – December 4, 2013: Although it’s been nearly a decade since a local Long Island resident inquired about shipping a Christmas tree to her son stationed in Iraq, the community tradition that resulted is as strong as ever. For the tenth consecutive year, DHL Express is supporting the local New York community in its effort to send hundreds of fresh-cut Christmas trees along with thousands of holiday letters, menorahs, decorations and gifts to U.S. servicemen and women serving their country in Afghanistan and Bahrain.

DHL Operation Holiday Cheer began in 2004, when the mother of a son 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 Senior, mentioned his dilemma to local businessman, Jim Adelis, whose son was also stationed in Iraq. After Jim reached out to DHL Express and the community, DHL Operation Holiday Cheer was launched. That first year, lights, decorations, menorahs, holiday cards and 135 trees were sent to troops.

“We’re honored to join with the local community and bring a dose of holiday spirit to our U.S. servicemen and women overseas,” said Ian Clough, CEO of DHL Express U.S. 

The holiday bounty was generously provided through donations from New York businesses and community organizations, including Dees’ Nursery, Adelis International Security, Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon and Proctor-Hopson Post 1896 Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), including VFW members and its Ladies Auxiliary from across New York State. 

All the goods will be packed and shipped courtesy of DHL Express from Long Island-based Dees’ Nursery, with a send off celebration on the nursery grounds at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, December 9th. Local community and veterans groups, schools and Nassau County dignitaries will help send off the shipment of holiday cheer – along with a special appearance by Santa bearing DHL gifts. 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, connecting with the DHL Americas Hub at CVG where they will be loaded onto a DHL 777 aircraft that travels non-stop to the Middle East.

Since 2004, DHL Operation Holiday Cheer has shipped more than 7,000 trees provided by Dees’ Christmas tree farm in Maine, along with thousands of ornaments, decorations, gifts and menorahs.