Laid off coal miners receive free Christmas trees

FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Laid off coal miners and their families came here to the Christmas tree lot at Skeans Marathon...after the salesman decided to help his community by giving away a Christmas item many folks take for granted.

Matt Skeans asks, "How can we make Christmas more affordable? Especially for these families in our area that have been hit with these layoffs."

Skeans' solution to that question...offer free Christmas trees to laid off miners.

"It is something everybody expects to have but in some extent it is a luxury item," explains Skeans.

Debbie Wiley's husband was laid off in October. She says, "That is 30 dollars I can use to buy gifts for my grandchildren. My husband has been laid off for a few months, his unemployement has been cut, I'm a preschool teacher...every penny matters right now."

It is a Christmas act of kindness miners and their families say is helping not just them but the morale of their entire community.

Skeans says, "We've got to step out and help those who need help. I can't imagine what is more important."

Helping his community and bringing excitement with a simple Christmas tradition.

"Seeing the children running up and down the field screaming, Daddy! Daddy! I want that one and then hugging their tree," explains Skeans.

Wiley says, "This has been a blessing to come and get a tree, it kind of made me more in the Christmas spirit."

Skeans says he knows it is worth giving up a bit of his profit for the Christmas joy the trees bring.

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