MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This season, WCCO’s “Home for the Holidays” is shining a light on homeless military veterans.
We teamed up with the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, known as MAC-V, to help decorate the WCCO community tree.
That tree will be presented to a military family.
As Reg Chapman shows us, one family is passing along ornaments given to them in honor of service members and their sacrifice.
“The first thing anyone saw when they came in the door was that tree,” said Julieanne Herman.
For 13 years a Christmas tree covered in red, white and blue ornaments was the focal point of the Hermans’ Spring Lake Park home.
The tradition started in 2001, when the family was planning a trip to visit their son Brett, who was serving in the Air Force in Korea.
“When 9/11 happened he was locked out on base and we could not get to see him so our trip was postponed,” Herman said.
The cancelled trip made Julieanne and Don start the red, white and blue tree, to honor all who serve in the military.
“The first year I had this ornament given to me. As the years progressed I kept getting more and more ornaments, all red, white and blue, military related,” Herman said.
The ornaments came from friends, co-workers, and family members.
The patriotic ornaments meant even more to the Hermans when Brett did one tour in Iraq and two in Afghanistan.
“Right now he’s training pilots for a private company but that’s what he does now,” said Don Herman.
Brett retired from the Air Force after 22 plus years of service in 2014.
It was a call for help from MACV on WCCO that made Julieanne realize the ornaments’ mission was not complete.
“I saw it on TV that they were asking for ornaments and I went — it just clicked, I needed to do this. I needed to give them away to someone who would appreciate them,” Herman said.
They donated many of the ornaments with hopes of spreading love, compassion, joy and hope for the future.
“That they know that someone cares about them and what they’ve done, what they’ve given to us as Americans,” Herman said.
We still need your help to decorate the WCCO Community Tree.
Join the families who have already sent us ornaments.
The trimmed tree will be presented to a military family living in a MAC-V transitional home.
If you’d like to help, click here.