- Special Sections
- Public Notices
The smell of sap and evergreen was heavy in the air and soldiers’ families browsed among bound Christmas trees Thursday at Fort Knox.
The trees were offered free along with the annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony.
Spc. Sean Monahan and his 18-month-old son, William, guarded a tree his wife was considering.
Sean Monahan and his wife, Andria, of Fort Knox, said the U.S. Army post is the most family-oriented post they have lived on.
Andria Monahan said it’s important to her that her family feel welcome and have activities on the post where they live.
“It’s hard because you move around so much, so you have to really integrate yourself in the post and find friends,” she said.
Her husband agreed.
“Because we do move around so much, my family is pretty much the only thing that I have that is constantly in my life,” he said.
Col. Bruce Jenkins, Fort Knox Garrison Commander, said he hoped the families who gathered during the event understood Fort Knox cares about them.
That’s why having family-friendly events and providing services, such as Trees for Troops, is so important, Jenkins said.
“This is a time for community; it’s a time for family to get together and just enjoy each other,” he said.
It’s important for the Army to be aware and inclusive of soldiers’ families because of how vital they are to troops, Jenkins said.
Soldiers are gone for long periods of time, and they can’t fulfill their duties without the support of their families. Some Fort Knox soldiers are away from their families, and the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division is planned to leave again in the summer, Jenkins said.
“Our chief of staff of the Army says that the strength of the nation is the Army and he goes on to say the strength of the Army is the soldier, but the strength of the soldier is the family,” he said.
The tree lighting and tree giveaway is a great way to kick off the holidays, Jenkins said.
“It’s an opportunity for us to get together and enjoy ourselves as a community,” he said.
Farm-grown Christmas trees have been donated to troops and their families at bases across the nation and outside of it through the Trees for the Troops program since 2005.
Alex Anderson, of Brandenburg, said her family has received Christmas trees at the last base where they were stationed, in Louisiana, and it’s a great event for their family.
She said the tree giveaway made her feel good to know people wanted to reach out to her family because her husband is a soldier.
“It’s really nice that they have such great family events and they do things like this for what our families all do,” she said.
Her children picked this year’s tree. Maddison, a first-grader at Ekron Elementary School liked one she said was “puffy.”
Gunnery Sgt. Allen Rosenblatt, who recruits in Elizabethtown for the U.S. Marines, was with his family getting a tree through the program for the first time.
His daughter, Karpricea, a seventh-grader at Scott Middle School, said her favorite part of the evening was seeing the tree and gazebo light up during the ceremony before the trees were given out.
Rosenblatt, of Fort Knox, said the opportunity was awesome, so he decided to bring his children to see Santa Claus and accept the service being offered to his family.
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.