No happy ending for Christmas tree donation effort

The Darling Tree Farm takes a lot of pride in supporting U.S. troops during the holidays through the national Trees for Troops program.

This year, that program, partnering with FedEx, delivered its 200,000th tree to soldiers and/or their families at 69 U.S. military bases.

Dick Darling chairs the national effort. He was at Fort Drum in Watertown with his wife of 51 years, Mary Ellen, earlier this month to deliver that milestone tree to the Vidal family.

While Darling and his wife get great pleasure in providing holiday cheer to troops serving far from home, another, separate local program has provided more frustration than satisfaction this year.

It’s an effort called Trees to Local Soldiers in Harm’s Way. The Darlings work with Midlakes Elementary second-grade students to identify local soldiers they can send Christmas trees to through the U.S. mail. They get requests from other families as well — some out of state.

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