The Naval Air Station Jax (NAS Jax) Navy Exchange (NEX) in partnership with the Greater Jacksonville Area USO held it’s 13th annual lighting of the USO Giving Tree Nov. 19.

The tree, located in the NEX main store, offers a way for patrons to help a military child, who is a little less fortunate, have something special for Christmas.

NEX General Manager Marsha Brooks welcomed store patrons and children from the NAS Jax Child Development Center who participated in the event by singing Christmas carols.

NAS Jax Commanding Officer Capt. Michael Connor thanked the NEX and USO for serving the community during the holiday season.

“This is a great community tradition to help those military families who might need something a little extra this Christmas,” said Connor.

As the children gave the official countdown, Connor performed the ceremonially lighting of the tree.

NEX customers can select an ornament with a child’s wishes off the tree, and return gift purchases with the wish list tag to the NAS Jax USO (at the main gate) no later than Dec. 14. The USO wraps and delivers all the presents.

The USO works with base tenant command master chiefs to compile a list of children from NAS Jacksonville families who they felt could benefit from the giving tree.

“This is one of our favorite events of the year,” said Brooks.

“Each ornament on the tree represents a child who may need a little extra for Christmas. We host this event each year to give back to our community.”

Santa Claus also stopped by to greet the children and listen to their Christmas wishes.

For more information on the Giving Tree, visit NEX Personalized Services or contact the USO at 778-2821.