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Local tree given to Walter Reed

November 18, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

FUNKSTOWN -

A local concolor fir will grace the entrance to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center this holiday season.

Representatives from the hospital visited Good Spirits Tree Farm south of Funkstown a few weeks ago, said Mike Gagarine, who owns the tree farm.

"I told them I wanted to donate it," Gagarine said.

Gagarine and his crew will cut down the tree and deliver it today to the hospital in Bethesda, Md.

Grayson Reeder, Matt Adams and Tom Koebel, who all work for Gagarine on weekends during the Christmas season, will help cut and haul the tree, Gagarine said.

The tree, which is 30 feet tall, normally would cost between $350 and $400, he said.

This particular tree survived almost being hacked down several years ago. Someone cut into it, but left when he was told how much it would cost, Gagarine said.

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The larger trees are quite rare because people usually cut down trees before they grow that large, he said.

Gagarine's father, who started Good Spirits Tree Farm, spent 30 years in the Army and retired as a colonel. Gagarine served five years in the Army during the 1970s, he said.

Gagarine said that his family history might have inspired him to donate the tree.

"I really feel in a nation that dislikes or avoids sacrifice, these are some of the finest Americans, and they've paid dearly," Gagarine said.

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