“Our armed forces make sacrifices every day to protect our freedoms. Although it is always difficult to be separated from loved ones, this year may be especially hard on them. Through Operation Holiday Cheer, we hope DHL can lift their spirits and give them a touch of home this year,” said Greg Hewitt, CEO of DHL Express U.S. “With Christmas trees in short supply, due to pandemic-related shutdowns at tree farms, we want to support local businesses while ensuring our brave servicemen and women abroad know they are not forgotten.”
From Long Island-based Dees’ Nursery, a police motorcade will escort the special convoy to the DHL Gateway facility at JFK International Airport, where the holiday decorations and letters will be loaded aboard a DHL 767 jet. After a quick stop at the DHL Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG) hub, the donated items will fly nonstop to the DHL Bahrain hub where they will be dispatched to U.S. military in the region.
In addition to the trees from Dees’ Nursery, other contributions of festive cheer were donated by generous community organizations, including Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon; Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski Memorial Fund; Proctor-Hopson Post 1896 Veterans of Foreign Wars; John McLaughlin VFW Post 8540; and other VFW chapters in NY State.
DHL Operation Holiday Cheer began in 2004 when the mother of an Iraq-based soldier asked Dees’ Nursery if she could send a Christmas tree to him. The nursery insisted on donating the tree but needed help with shipping. Dees’ owner, Tom Di Dominica Sr., mentioned his mission to businessman Jim Adelis, who then contacted DHL Express — and it all began.
Since that single tree was shipped in 2004, DHL Operation Holiday Cheer has transported more than 11,500 trees from the Dees’ tree farm in Maine, providing holiday cheer to soldiers serving our country overseas.
Next year, DHL, Dees’ and our community partners look forward to resuming the traditional Holiday Cheer send-off event with an even larger community celebration, which will also pay tribute to Jim Adellis, a dear friend, community leader, and key event organizer who sadly passed away in early 2020.
DHL Express U.S.
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