12/24/06 — North Carolina tree makes trip to Korea

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North Carolina tree makes trip to Korea

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on December 24, 2006 2:00 AM

When a custom box arrived at the Jarrell home on an Army base in South Korea earlier this month, the smell gave away what was inside.

Goldsboro resident Ed Ellis had made it happen -- his little girl had finally received her North Carolina Christmas tree.

But for Cathy Jarrell, her husband, Van, and daughter, Megan, it's more than just a tree. It's a reminder that a homestyle Christmas can come to fruition anywhere when the people you love make it so.

"The tree has brought North Carolina and home to South Korea for Van, Megan and me," Cathy said of the Beautancus farm Fraser fir.

The lights Ellis had sent weeks earlier did, too.

"Megan helped decorate the tree with the lights that my father mailed to us," Cathy said. "We decorated (it) with decorations from years past and from places that Van and I have been stationed over the years."

And while sitting by that tree during the holidays won't replace the feeling of spending Christmas morning with her parents, she called the gift a "blessing."

It was a blessing that didn't come easy. After picking out the right tree and constructing the custom box to deliver it in, Beautancus proprietor Leslie "Brownie" Southerland had to bring down a specialist from the N.C. Department of Agriculture to clear the fir for travel.

It was then loaded into the back of Ellis' truck and taken to the post office in downtown Goldsboro to be shipped. A few days later, a piece of North Carolina arrived in Asia just in time for the holidays.

"The tree is a reminder of home and the people that we love and are dear to our hearts -- our parents, brothers, sisters, friends and family," she said. "(It) means so much to us and we are thankful to be blessed with family, friends and a home filled with love."