January 15, 2008
Over 3,000 Canadian military families have received free Christmas trees this season, through a national effort to support those with loved ones serving overseas. LO member Fred Somerville of Somerville Nurseries near Everett provided the leadership to make this inspiring idea real.

Trees for Troops was coordinated through the Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association, and earned the attention and approval of Defence Minister Peter MacKay. Somerville is a past president of that association.

“We had the idea last summer to ship real trees to our troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere,” said Somerville, but practical issues prevented its execution. He did not give up, and was instrumental in bringing living symbols of hope into the homes of Canadian Forces families. “We started with our Ontario tree-growers’ association and took the initiative right across Canada.”

Somerville Nurseries donated about 400 of its Kriss Kringle brand trees to families based at Trenton, Petawawa, Kingston and Ottawa. The nursery participated as the leading Ontario supplier for the project, as well as a corporate donor.

Caption: Fred Somerville tagged the nursery’s donated trees with this message: “We are very proud of your family’s contribution in making the world a better place!”