Hundreds of Mass military families getting free Christmas trees

Operation service marks 11 years of saying ‘Thanks’

LEOMINSTER, Mass. — Sunday, Vietnam Veteran Norman Beaudoin scored a free Christmas tree at The Gardener’s Spot in Leominster. It was one of about six hundred trees that will be given away to Massachusetts veterans and active-duty service members between now and December 19, thanks to Operation Service.

“It’s a great community project where we all get to come out and say thanks,” said Joseph Firmani, who started the tradition with his wife eleven years ago. In 2010, the couple had funds enough for just twenty discounted trees. But as word got around, donations poured in.

“So we could do two hundred trees the next year, then three hundred trees,” Firmani said. “When it got to 500,600 -- that’s when we decided to start the non-profit in 2017 called Operation Service.”

Firmani said the effort is 100 percent volunteer -- right down to the day the Christmas trees arrive at The Gardener’s Spot, and members of the community come down to help unload the evergreens.

“These people really care,” said Beaudoin. “It’s not just words saying thank you for your service.”