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Trees for Troops brings the holidays home

Airman 1st Class Aaron Jude, a 28th Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection apprentice, loads a tree into a truck at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Nov. 30, 2018. Trees for Troops is an event where community members all over the country donate trees to service members so they can have a free tree for the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Airman 1st Class Aaron Jude, a 28th Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection apprentice, loads a tree into a truck at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Nov. 30, 2018. Trees for Troops is an event where community members all over the country donate trees to service members so they can have a free tree for the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

A child holds a branch while searching for tree at outdoor recreation on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Nov. 30, 2018. Trees for Troops is an event where community members all over the country donate trees to service members so they can have a free tree for the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

A child holds a branch while searching for tree at outdoor recreation on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Nov. 30, 2018. Trees for Troops is an event where community members all over the country donate trees to service members so they can have a free tree for the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Service members and their families begin to look for a tree at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Nov. 30, 2018. Trees for Troops is an event where community members all over the country donate trees to service members so they can have a free tree for the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Service members and their families begin to look for a tree at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Nov. 30, 2018. Trees for Troops is an event where community members all over the country donate trees to service members so they can have a free tree for the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

A tree lays against a fence at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Nov. 30, 2018. Trees for Troops is an event where community members all over the country donate trees to service members so they can have a free tree for the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

A tree lays against a fence at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Nov. 30, 2018. Trees for Troops is an event where community members all over the country donate trees to service members so they can have a free tree for the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Volunteers help unload trees at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Nov. 30, 2018. Trees for Troops is an event where community members all over the country donate trees to service members so they can have a free tree for the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Volunteers help unload trees at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Nov. 30, 2018. Trees for Troops is an event where community members all over the country donate trees to service members so they can have a free tree for the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Chelsey Mastalski, the 28th Force Support Squadron outdoor recreation manager, unloads a tree from a truck at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Nov. 30, 2018. Trees for Troops is an event where community members all over the country donate trees to service members so they can have a free tree for the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Chelsey Mastalski, the 28th Force Support Squadron outdoor recreation manager, unloads a tree from a truck at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Nov. 30, 2018. Trees for Troops is an event where community members all over the country donate trees to service members so they can have a free tree for the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Volunteers come together to help unload trees at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Nov. 30, 2018. Trees for Troops is an event where community members all over the country donate trees to service members so they can have a free tree for the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Volunteers come together to help unload trees at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Nov. 30, 2018. Trees for Troops is an event where community members all over the country donate trees to service members so they can have a free tree for the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- The 28th Force Support Squadron hosted a Trees for Troops event at outdoor recreation on Nov. 30, where Airmen and their Families were able to get a free tree for the holidays at Ellsworth Air Force Base.

This is the 11th year that the base has hosted the event, which was started by the National Christmas Tree Association to give back to those who serve.

“This year we received 181 trees that were donated to us,” said Chelsey Mastalski, the 28th Force Support Squadron outdoor recreation manager. “This means the world to some people. It takes extra pressure off spouses who have deployed loved ones away from home for the holidays.”

In the past, the association donated 18,000 trees to 65 bases in 2016 alone. This event helps bring Ellsworth Airmen closer together during the holiday season.

“It’s a great opportunity for families to come out and pick a tree and celebrate the holidays,” said Amy Stuhlsatz, a military spouse at Ellsworth AFB. “It brings the [holiday] spirit to everyone … It’s easy and convenient for us to go out and see familiar faces on base and pick out a tree.”

While open to the entire base, the program especially helps those who have family members who are deployed and can’t be with them during the holiday season.

For more information about the event, call the Ellsworth AFB Outdoor Recreation office at 605-385-2997.

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