2016 Trees For Troops At Bustard’s Christmas Trees

Christmas tree delivery to a military base thanks to Trees for Troops.

Christmas tree delivery to a military base thanks to Trees for Troops.

Trees for Troops (T4T) was launched by the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation in 2005. Since then, more than 176,096 real trees have been delivered via T4T partner FedEx to military families at 65 military bases throughout the United States and overseas. In 2015, 18,633 trees were shipped to every branch of the military.

Bustard’s Christmas Trees joins about 400 other Christmas tree growers and retail lots in 26 states throughout the U.S. Since the local Christmas tree farm began participating in Trees for Troops, it has contributed 2,300 trees. Last year, one of Bustard’s Fraser firs graced the White House Blue Room, which adds pride to military families who receive a tree from the 87-year-old family-owned business.

“People who are unable to attend T4T Weekend can still donate a tree,” advises Jay Bustard. “Make a check for $35 payable to Christmas Spirit Foundation and send it to Bustard’s Christmas Trees, 2210 Bustard Road, Lansdale, PA 19446. Checks must be received by December 5th. We will add these trees to the FedEx truck collection.”

Bustard’s Christmas Trees will launch the holiday season Friday, November 25th, the weekend before T4T. In addition to real Christmas trees, it sells handcrafted wreaths, swags, garlands and grave blankets. Real Christmas trees are also sold at Vernfield Village Market, 883 Main Street in Vernfield. Both locations will be open through December 23rd daily from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Both sites provide Bustard’s 2016 calendars, a Santa mailbox for kids and tree tying and bottom-trimming services. The Bustard Road store brews hot chocolate on weekends for customers to enjoy while shopping for trees and wreaths. For details, visit bustardschristmastrees.com or call 610.584.4058 or Jay Bustard at 484.300.0634. Go to christmasspiritfoundation.org for Trees for Troops, a 501(c)3 public charity.

MCCC Partners With Library Of Congress To Preserve Veterans’ Stories‏

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA — Long after their time in the military, the stories of Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) veterans will live on, inspiring and educating future generations.

That is the goal of the College’s Veterans Coordinator, Mike Brown, as well as his colleagues from the Veterans Resource Center. During the fall semester, Brown began interviewing and capturing audio recordings of student veterans as part of the Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center.

In all, Brown recorded the stories of 10 veterans so far. He plans to record the stories of many more of the College’s roughly 300 student veterans. Recordings will be permanently archived at the Library of Congress, where all recordings have been housed since the Veterans History Project began in 2000. Recordings are searchable online by war, military branch, the contributor’s name and various other search criteria.

“The variety of experiences from the students really has been fantastic to hear,” said Brown, an Army veteran who served in the infantry during a 1997 deployment to Bosnia. “I shared my story. Two generations from now my grandkids and great-grandkids will be able to listen to my story forever.”

The interviews, which must be a minimum of 30 minutes and generally span 45 to 90 minutes, cover the veterans’ early life, including where they are from, why they joined the military and details of their enlistment. While many who participated so far fought in combat zones, Brown said that is not required.

The College’s involvement in the nationwide effort is open to any and all veterans – even non-students.

“It’s a way to incorporate and include the community, not just the students,” he said. “We can live up to our community college name.”

One of the student veterans, for instance, interviewed his grandfather, a Korean War veteran, as well as his father, who is a Vietnam War veteran.

Sgt. William Keller, a business management student at Montgomery County Community College and an Army reservist coming up on eight years of service between the Army Reserves and the National Guard, said the recordings give the public a “more intimate” look at military life.

“I feel it’s important for veterans like myself to share their stories so other individuals have an opportunity to get a better understanding of what it’s like from our point of view instead of a social media point of view or the news,” Keller said, adding that listeners “get a chance to hear personal stories.”

Keller, who was deployed to Iraq from 2010-2011, called the experience “humbling.”

“The fact that we are given the opportunity to tell our story and that it gets preserved in the Library of Congress for eternity is a pretty honorable experience,” Keller said. “It’s not something that’s offered to every individual.”