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Military Connection: Trees for Troops: By Debbie Gregory

Trees for Troops

Each year, hundreds of thousands of American service members spend their holiday season away from home and families, in locations around the country and around the world. While they are proud to do their duty and make sacrifices for their country, it’s a hard time of year to be away from their families. Morale can dip around the holidays, and many service members have a hard time finding their holiday cheer. But one national charity is raising spirits for American service members and military families.

Trees for Troops is a charity that spreads joy and raises spirits for all branches of the U.S. military. Since 2005, the non-profit has provided more than 139,000 American-grown Christmas Trees, free of charge, to the military community.

The program is designed to bring holiday cheer to deployed military and military families. For deployed troops, the tree symbolizes a touch of home around the holidays, and for military families, it spreads joy by expanding their holiday budgets.

Trees for Troops became a national program in 2005 when the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, a charitable arm of the National Christmas Tree Association, unified the programs of tree growers and state Christmas Tree Associations. The Christmas SPIRIT Foundation partnered with FedEx Corporation to ship the Christmas trees from the tree growers, delivering them to military bases.

Last year, 450 tree farms delivered over 17,000 Christmas trees to 62 military bases. Trees for Troops estimates that FedEx traveled 78,839 miles to deliver last year’s trees for the charity.

It is only through the generosity of the American people and their donations to Trees for Troops that the program is able to continue the delivery of Christmas trees, a valuable gift to service members and military families. To donate, visit http://www.treesfortroops.org/dnn/Donate.aspx

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Trees for Troops: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: NORAD Tracks Santa Website: By Debbie Gregory

NORAD tracks santa

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has opened its NORAD Track Santa website for the 2014 Christmas season.

NORAD, and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have been tracking Santa Claus for 59 years.  According to the website, the tradition began in 1955, when a Sears Roebuck & Co advertisement listed the wrong phone number for Santa Claus, and gave eager children the CONAD commander’s ‘hotline” instead. With the influx of calls and the quick thinking of then-Director of Operations, Colonel Harry Shoup, staff members began fielding the calls and giving children updates on Santa, as seen from their radar. From a simple mistake and the kindness of service members, a great tradition was born.

Through the decades, the Santa tracking tradition has evolved, with the website now available in eight languages: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish. The site also offers official NORAD Tracks Santa apps for Apple, Google Play and Windows devices. The site has also taken to social media and offers games, trivia and Santa tacking through Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Google+ accounts.

New features to the 2014 edition of NORADSanta.org include fun activities for Christmas lovers of all ages. The North Pole location lets users visit Santa’s Village, with access to a festive menu of games, music, movies, and special NORAD intelligence on Santa Claus. You can also visit the online Gift Shop, where you can buy official Santa and NORAD gear.

From the home page, there is an official Santa Tracker countdown that keeps track of the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the NORAD tracking of Santa’s sleigh, beginning at 12:01 a.m. MST on December 24th. While kids and parents wait for the countdown, there are fun Christmas themed games that can be played on the website and its apps. There are 23 games that will be unlocked, one game each day, between December 1st and 23rd.

The holiday movies and music available on the website will get anyone in the holiday spirit. There is also a library that provides information about Santa, and proof that Santa Claus is real. The library also provides special NORAD specs on Santa’s sleigh, holiday activities, and information about holiday traditions around the world.

If you have small children, grandchildren, or just love some good, clean holiday fun, visit the NORAD Tracks Santa website, available now online, on smartphones and tablets.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: NORAD Tracks Santa Website: By Debbie Gregory