Retired truckers to transport "Tree of Hope"

| 11/16/2001

Schultz Equipment and Parts Company Inc., an International dealer in Iron Mountain, MI, will be the official transporter of this year's U.S. Capitol Holiday Tree ("The People's Tree") from the Ottawa National Forest in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the west lawn of the Capitol in Washington, DC.

The truck that will transport the tree is a silver International 9900ix Pro-Sleeper loaded with a 525-horsepower Cummins engine. A white International 8100 6x4 will follow the 9900ix and will carry 70 smaller trees for placement throughout the Washington, DC, area.

Two drivers will rotate driving of the two trucks during the route. Both are retired truckers from Michigan. Wendell Sanders is a 40-year veteran of trucking from Iron Mountain. The second driver, Harold Henricksoen, is from Forest City.

The People's Tree dates back to 1969. Each year since then, the USDA-Forest Service and one state bestows the special gift to the nation. This year, the state of Michigan, the Ottawa National Forest and the USDA-Forest Service donated the People's Tree and named it the "Tree of Hope." The Tree of Hope is a 67-year old, 74-foot white spruce chosen by Matthew Evans, landscape architect, U.S. Capitol.

After the Nov. 13 tree cutting, the caravan will stop at 10 communities in Michigan while on its way to Washington, DC. On Dec. 11, the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert (R-IL), will light the tree and it will be displayed for five weeks during the holiday season. After the holidays, the tree will be milled into lumber and used in a Habitat for Humanity home in Michigan and tree seedlings from the Tree of Hope will be planted throughout the state.

For more information, merchandise and sponsorship information, visit the Tree of Hope web site at