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Sending Christmas joy to deployed service members

It can be a tough time of year for troops who can't come home for the holidays. That's where a tree farm in Carbon County comes in.

LEHIGHTON, Pa. — The note that Jenna Gasker from Lehighton attached to a Christmas tree on Friday morning is about to travel hundreds of miles.

"The troops will be able to have a little piece of home from a small town in Lehighton with them," Gasker said.

One after the other, 150 trees were loaded into a truck at Yenser's Tree Farm.

"They are going to Fort Lejeune in North Carolina and also King's Bay submarine base in Georgia this year," said owner Jan Wentz.

This is the 16th year the farm has sent Christmas trees to deployed service members.

Vietnam vet Rudy Balas remembers what it was like to be away from his family during the holidays.

"Back then, it was another day of work. You just looked for the turkey dinner that we usually had, even out at sea. But most of the time, it was just a long day of work. We got through it, looked for packages from the family. Other than that, we missed home."

A Christmas tree can light up a room in anybody's home, but for military men and women and their families, it means a lot more.

"Getting a Christmas tree is a symbol of home, symbol of comfort, and symbol of love," said Michael Greek, the Carbon County District Attorney and a veteran. 

"My grandmother just got deployed this past week. It is very heartwarming knowing that it could possibly be going to her or to anyone she has been working with," said Taylor Mickley from Lehighton. 

The trees are all given away for free, thanks to donations from schools and organizations in the area.


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