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Helping Holidays Feel Like Home for Troops


For U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Bahrain, it’s looking a little more like the holidays back home, thanks to DHL Express’ annual Operation Holiday Cheer. Now in its 13th year, the project delivers fresh-cut Christmas trees along with thousands of holiday letters, menorahs, decorations and gifts to U.S. troops serving our country.

This year’s shipment of trees, provided by Dees Nursery in Long Island, New York, started out on Dec. 5 from the DHL gateway facility at JFK International Airport in New York. The load was then flown to DHL’s Americas hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport, where they were loaded onto a DHL 777 for a nonstop flight to the Middle East.

DHL Operation Holiday Cheer began in 2004, when the mother of a soldier who was 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 Sr. mentioned his dilemma to local businessman Jim Adelis, whose son also was stationed in Iraq. Adelis then reached out to DHL Express and the community, and DHL Operation Holiday Cheer was born. That first year, DHL sent 135 trees to our troops, along with lights, decorations, menorahs and holiday cards, and has since shipped thousands more.