HOULTON — A local Rotarian shared her personal story at the Houlton Rotary meeting on Feb. 24 at Watson Hall on Main Street.
Tammie Mulvey, who is from Montville, and her husband, Rob, who is from New York, own Pleasant View Tree Farm on the Calais Road.
Mulvey was raised in a restaurant, convenience store, chainsaw shop and dance hall. She has sold insurance, worked as a cosmetologist, waitress, cook and at Community Living Association. She is now employed by Community Health and Counseling Services.
contributed photo/Michael Clark
SHARES STORY — Tammie Mulvey, right, was the featured speaker at the Feb. 24 Houlton Rotary Club. Mulvey spoke on her past business history. With Mulvey is Rotary President Lori Weston.
Her husband went to Unity College and stayed in Maine. He worked at Robbins Lumber on Christmas trees and in their mill and plantations. In 1996, he became self employed contracting out work on Christmas trees.
The couple’s tree farm started in 2002, with Christmas trees and wreaths. It has since expanded to strawberries, and fall mums in 2008. The couple then added fruit trees and hardwoods to see if there was a need in the area. Pleasant View Tree Farms has continued its expansion over the last few years.
Mulvey’s Rotary discussion centered around the program Trees for Troops.
“In 2005, the National Christmas Tree Association developed the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation (CSF) as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization to advance the spirit of Christmas year-round,” she explained. “The foundation quickly developed plans for a national Trees for Troops program that could unify the individual programs of tree growers and state Christmas tree associations.”
This year, Trees for Troops provided 17,051 free, real Christmas Trees to military families and troops, bringing the total since the inception of the program to more than 139,000 trees. This year’s trees were delivered by FedEx to 62 military bases in the U.S. and Middle East, covering every branch of the armed services.
“While a donated Christmas tree may seem like a small gift, CSF receives countless emails and letters from families saying it was the best gift they could have received during the holidays,” Mulvey said. “Not only are many military members away from their families during the holidays, but many military families are also away from their extended families. In some cases, “Dad” or “Mom” is overseas, while the rest of the family is also far from home. It is our hope that the gift of a real Christmas tree will help bring the feeling of home a little closer, wherever they may be spending their holiday, as well as alleviate some of the financial burden the holidays can bring.”
The Trees for Troops program continues to grow with the generous support from many involved.
“Imagine a smiling group of U.S. troops gathered around a Christmas tree that was grown on an American farm and expressed shipped to arrive fresh and green somewhere on the other side of the world, just in time for Christmas,” Mulvey asked. “Or, imagine a spouse and children sharing joyous memories of Christmas through the gift of a free, real Christmas tree while their family member is away serving our country. Trees for Troops makes this vision a reality.”
Members of the National Christmas Tree Association and many state and regional Christmas tree associations began donating trees by the thousands. This is quite a logistical undertaking and a sacrifice, as these are quality, sellable trees being harvested, donated and collected during the busiest possible time for growers, and no doubt the busiest time for FedEx and its employees.
“They do it because they love the opportunity to say ‘thank you for your service and sacrifice’ to troops and their families,” Mulvey explained.
In total, 9,685 Christmas trees were donated by growers this year. Consumers supported Trees for Troops by donating funds or by visiting the 60 farms and retail locations across the country that hosted FedEx trailers during Trees for Troops Weekend, Dec. 6-8.
“During Trees for Troops Weekend, consumers purchased and donated 7,216 trees that were placed in the trailers and delivered to U.S. military bases,” said Mulvey. “This past year was started in Indiana with 150 trees shipped to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia and to Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.”
The Maine Christmas Tree Association has been involved since the beginning. They donate 300 trees each year and for the last six years, they have also been donating ornaments for the trees. They make or buy 10 ornaments for each tree.
“We prefer hand-made ornaments just for the extra care that goes into them,” said Mulvey.
This was started by Joanne Bond, Melba Fisher and Norma Corliss of the Maine Christmas Tree Association.
“Many of the ornaments are made by these wonderful ladies as well, but there is always a bit of a shortfall that I am hoping we can help out with,” Mulvey added. “The ornaments must be non-breakable, they do not need to be hand-made, but that does give a little extra touch. We are getting close to the time when we send these out. I know it is not even spring yet and I am asking about next Christmas. We send the ornaments in April to go with the trees. They are packaged in a decorative plastic bag and a note is included thanking them for their service.”
If anyone would like to donate either ornaments or financial assistance, contact Mulvey either by Facebook at Pleasant View Tree Farm, email at email@example.com or call 207-538-7217 For anyone wanting more information about Trees for Troops or to become a sponsor, visit treesfortroops.org.
Mulvey also mentioned that her husband, in conjunction with Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District, is doing a demonstration on pruning apple trees on Saturday, March 27. For more information call 207-532-2087 extension 3 or visit http:// www.saswcd.org.