Plantation, Fla. – November 30, 2011: DHL Express, the world’s leading international express shipping provider, is partnering with the New York community to send hundreds of Christmas trees and thousands of holiday letters, menorahs, decorations and gifts to U.S. servicemen and women serving their country in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Bahrain.

The holiday bounty was generously provided through donations from New York businesses and community organizations, including Dees’ Nursery, Adelis International Security, Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon, and Proctor-Hopson Post 1896 Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). 

All goods will be packed and shipped courtesy of DHL Express from Long Island-based Dees’ Nursery, with a send off celebration on nursery grounds at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, December 5th. Local community and veterans groups, schools and Nassau County dignitaries will help send off the shipment of holiday cheer – along with a special appearance by Santa bearing DHL gifts.

From Dees’, trees and trimmings will then proceed via official police motorcade to the DHL Gateway facility at JFK International Airport for loading onto a DHL aircraft. This year, troops will receive their shipment of holiday spirit a bit sooner than past years, as DHL will be leveraging a new 777 cargo flight that travels non-stop directly from the U.S. to the Middle East.

“We’re honored to join with the local community for this wonderful annual tradition so our U.S. servicemen and women can receive a much-needed dose of holiday spirit,” said Ian Clough, CEO of DHL Express U.S.

DHL Operation Holiday Cheer began in 2004, when the mother of a son stationed in Iraq, asked Dees’ Nursery if she could buy a Christmas tree and send it to him. The nursery wanted to donate the tree, but needed help shipping it overseas. Dees’ owner, Tom Di Dominica Senior, mentioned his dilemma to local businessman Jim Adelis, whose son was also stationed in Iraq. Jim reached out to DHL Express and the community, and DHL Operation Holiday Cheer was launched. 

That first year, 135 trees, plus lights, decorations, menorahs and holiday cards were sent to troops. Since then, DHL Operation Holiday Cheer has shipped more than 5,500 trees provided by Dees’ Christmas tree farm in Maine, plus thousands of ornaments, decorations, gifts and menorahs.