DHL partners with March JPA and So. CA businesses to ship Christmas trees, menorahs, lights and decorations to troops

An aircraft carrying a special holiday shipment lifted off from Los Angeles International Airport on Dec. 8 destined for US troops stationed in Iraq. DHL has partnered with the March Joint Powers Authority (JPA), local businesses in Southern California and the local community to deliver Christmas trees, menorahs, ornaments, lights, care packages and holiday cards to American service men and women stationed overseas this holiday season. This year, DHL will ship more than 250 Christmas trees donated by a partnership of local businesses and residents, as well as hundreds of boxes of lights, ornaments, candy canes, and menorahs with candles, and thousands of holiday cards written by children from local schools. The trees were generously donated by Sand Haven Pines, Christmas Conifers, and Wells Fargo Bank. The lights, decorations and menorahs were all purchased with donations collected by local businesses and organizations in Moreno Valley, Riverside and Perris, CA.

Children from various schools, as well as the local Boy Scouts of America, created hand-made holiday cards for soldiers, which accompanied the shipment. Additionally, DHL has partnered with the Family Readiness Group (FRG), an all-volunteer organization that assists troops and their family members as they are deployed, and the March ARB Family Support Office, which assists the command in enhancing quality of life and the health and welfare of military members and families, to deliver nearly 750 gifts from family members in the States to their loved ones serving overseas.

The entire shipment received a special send-off from Santa Claus and local area dignitaries from the DHL facility at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, CA. The DHL Christmas Trees for Troops initiative was launched in December 2004, when DHL delivered two shipments with a total of 135 Christmas trees and other holiday-related items to troops stationed at Camp Anaconda in Iraq. The response to these shipments from troops and their families has been so positive that DHL and various partners have expanded it to become an annual goodwill initiative for our men and women bravely serving our country overseas. The DHL shipment headed from March Air Reserve Base to the DHL international gateway at Los Angeles International Airport. From Los Angeles, the shipment flew to John F. Kennedy Airport, where an additional 750 Christmas trees joined the shipment heading to US troops in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Iraq, where the trees, lights and decorations and menorahs will be distributed to Marine units.

The send-off celebration at March Air Reserve Base commenced with a welcome from Steve Fitzpatrick, hub manager for DHL in Riverside, followed by words of thanks and appreciation from Brigadier General James L. Melin, commander of the Air Force Reserve Command’s 452nd Air Mobility Wing. Other local community members and military officials also participated, including the local Boy Scout troop, which held a flag salute.