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Originally published: 2013-12-07 15:06:37
Last modified: 2013-12-07 15:07:22

Our View: High Country's Christmas spirit branches out

It will be a High Country Christmas for many families in the United States -- even for some as far away as Arizona. 

High Country Christmas trees are a staple of the holidays for many people throughout North Carolina and regions beyond. But each year, the holiday spirit is spread a bit further as Christmas tree growers in Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties band to donate more than 1,000 trees to troops and their families. 

This year, central collection points in Fleetwood and Crossnore will gather and ship about 1,400 trees through the Trees for Troops program. Some of those trees are bound for points closer to home -- Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville -- but others will land well outside the Old North State, destined for Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. 

Our local Christmas tree growers are well known for the quality of the trees they produce -- myriad farms have seen their trees positioned in the White House. 

But offering free trees to those who serve our nation is a noble deed, and one which involves not only farmers, but the communities in which those farmers work. 

Dozens of volunteers will help load the trees, and many will send personal notes of encouragement with the shipments. 

Major transportation carriers also play a role in the delivery. 

This community project both here and in other areas working beneath the umbrella Christmas SPIRIT Foundation has resulted in about 122,000 real Christmas trees since 2005 for service members and their families -- a true salute to both the sacrifices of our troops, and the communities which make this project work.