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Vandenberg Airmen feel the love at 6th annual ‘Trees for Troops’

LOMPOC, Calif. – Tech. Sgt. Brittany Spoutz, Airman and Family Readiness Center readiness non-commissioned officer, thanks volunteers for their support of the 6th annual Trees for Troops event at Santa Barbara Bank and Trust’s Lompoc branch Wednesday evening, Dec. 5, 2012. Santa Barbara Bank and Trust donated 90 trees to deployed spouses and families in need assigned to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

LOMPOC, Calif. – Tech. Sgt. Brittany Spoutz, Airman and Family Readiness Center readiness non-commissioned officer, thanks volunteers for their support of the 6th annual Trees for Troops event at Santa Barbara Bank and Trust’s Lompoc branch Wednesday evening, Dec. 5, 2012. Santa Barbara Bank and Trust donated 90 trees to deployed spouses and families in need assigned to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

LOMPOC, Calif. – Randy Weiss, Santa Barbara Bank and Trust vice president and community relations officer, kicked-off the Trees for Troops event at the bank here Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. This year marked the 6th annual Trees for Troops event where the Santa Barbara Bank and Trust donated 90 trees to deployed spouses and families in need assigned to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

LOMPOC, Calif. – Randy Weiss, Santa Barbara Bank and Trust vice president and community relations officer, kicked-off the Trees for Troops event at the bank here Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. This year marked the 6th annual Trees for Troops event where the Santa Barbara Bank and Trust donated 90 trees to deployed spouses and families in need assigned to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

LOMPOC, Calif. – Vandenberg military members and civilians gather around trees during the 6th annual Trees for Troops event at Santa Barbara Bank and Trust’s Lompoc branch here Wednesday evening, Dec. 5, 2012. The event included a buffet table with hot and cold foods, speeches and tree pick-ups for deployed spouses and families in need assigned to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

LOMPOC, Calif. – Vandenberg military members and civilians gather around trees during the 6th annual Trees for Troops event at Santa Barbara Bank and Trust’s Lompoc branch here Wednesday evening, Dec. 5, 2012. The event included a buffet table with hot and cold foods, speeches and tree pick-ups for deployed spouses and families in need assigned to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

LOMPOC, Calif. – Volunteers from the surrounding area help troops load and deliver trees to their houses during the 6th annual Trees for Troops event at the Santa Barbara Bank and Trust here Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. This year marked the 6th annual Trees for Troops event where Santa Barbara Bank and Trust donated trees to deployed spouses and families in need assigned to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

LOMPOC, Calif. – Volunteers from the surrounding area help troops load and deliver trees to their houses during the 6th annual Trees for Troops event at the Santa Barbara Bank and Trust here Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. This year marked the 6th annual Trees for Troops event where Santa Barbara Bank and Trust donated trees to deployed spouses and families in need assigned to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

LOMPOC, Calif. – Senior Airman Lael Huss, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, holds her son as they pick-out their tree during the 6th annual Trees for Troops event at the Santa Barbara Bank and Trust here Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. The Santa Barbara Bank and Trust donated 90 trees to deployed spouses and families in need assigned to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

LOMPOC, Calif. – Senior Airman Lael Huss, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, holds her son as they pick-out their tree during the 6th annual Trees for Troops event at the Santa Barbara Bank and Trust here Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. The Santa Barbara Bank and Trust donated 90 trees to deployed spouses and families in need assigned to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

LOMPOC, Calif. – Volunteers from base and the surrounding area help families load and deliver trees to their homes during the 6th annual Trees for Troops event here Wednesday evening, Dec. 5, 2012. The event included a buffet table with hot and cold foods, speeches and tree pick-ups for deployed spouses and families in need assigned to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

LOMPOC, Calif. – Volunteers from base and the surrounding area help families load and deliver trees to their homes during the 6th annual Trees for Troops event here Wednesday evening, Dec. 5, 2012. The event included a buffet table with hot and cold foods, speeches and tree pick-ups for deployed spouses and families in need assigned to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg Airmen and their families gathered outside of Santa Barbara Bank and Trust's Lompoc branch Dec. 5 to make a unique holiday withdrawal.

Ninety Vandenberg families were gifted live Christmas trees, given free bank "swag" and fed buffet style finger foods during Santa Barbara Bank and Trust's 6th Annual Trees for troops event.

"This is just a small thing we can do to once a year to recognize the men and women at Vandenberg who sacrifice year-round to protect our freedom," said Mike Carroll, Santa Barbara Bank and Trust Lompoc Branch vice president and branch manager.

This event may have taken just two hours of time, but required months of coordination.

"We began working the event in October," Carroll said. "Since we have been doing this for six years, the event is pretty well dialed-in. A local company donated the trees and Vandenberg provided the families."

The Vandenberg Airman and Family Readiness Center and first sergeants supported families in need.

"Deployed spouses and Airmen in need were given priority in this event," said Tech. Sgt. Brittany Spoutz, Vandenberg Airman and Family Readiness Center Non-commissioned officer in-charge. "The holiday season can be a stressful time of year for any family. We hope that providing them with a tree will lift their spirits and hopefully relieve some of the financial stress that can come with this time of year."

The event coordinators were most thankful for the volunteers who helped coordinate the event details.

"Thank you to all of the volunteers," Spoutz said to the crowd of Vandenberg hawks, volunteers and Santa Barbara Bank and Trust affiliates. "It's a lot of work and a lot of trees, so thank you for your support. You made this year's event a success."

As the event wound-down and the families were released into the parking lot to pick their trees, some Vandenberg Airmen were most gracious for what this gesture represented to them.

"Trees for Troops really helps those less fortunate military households to have a great holiday," said Staff Sgt. Miguel Landros, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron and tree recipient, and his wife, Janelle. "I also feel like it sends a message of love and support from the local population to the base. I feel like it shows that they really care about us."