CHEBOYGAN, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – It’s that time of year for a long-standing holiday tradition, and the tradition rings true not only for the U.S. Coast Guard but also for Cheboygan County students as well.

A crew of students helped load the Cutter Mackinaw with 1,200 Christmas trees. It then set course from Cheboygan on Sunday and will make its way to Chicago.

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Alongside their usual mission of tending buoys in the Great Lakes, the Coast Guard crew will escort the trees to Chicago where they will be donated to families in need.

This tradition dates back 23 years; it commemorates the Rouse Simmons that was lost at sea carrying Christmas trees in 1912.

The Mackinaw is slated to arrive in Chicago on December 1.