Grove is natural pick to drive Christmas tree to Washington, DC

| 11/22/2006

After hauling the companion trees to Capitol Hill last year, it was only natural that OOIDA member Gordy Grove of Langley, WA, was selected this year to drive the 65-foot Christmas tree from his home state across country to its final destination in Washington, DC.

"This is a well-deserved promotion for Gordy," said Jorja Coulter, vice president of marketing for National Van Lines. "He did such a good job transporting the companion trees last year, that when he found out the tree was from his home state, he said, 'It's got to be me.' "

Grove and the 65-foot tall silver fir, along with the caravan of five other trucks which include the 65 companion trees, arrived at National Van Lines' headquarters in Chicago, IL, around 1 p.m. on Wednesday. A reception honoring the caravan has been planned for Wednesday, and a Thanksgiving Day feast has been planned in Chicago.

"Although I won't be with my family on Thanksgiving, I will be among good friends," Grove told Land Line.

There were many factors that contributed to Grove's selection to drive this year's Christmas tree to Capitol Hill, according to Roger Harl, vice president of operations for National Van Lines, which is the event's primary sponsor.

"This type of job requires a special driver like Gordy," Harl said. "Besides being an excellent driver, Gordy has good PR skills and gets along well with people."

Harl said Grove, who has driven for the company for two years, has more than 1 million safe driving miles under his belt and has had no moving violation tickets during that time.

Fontaine Trailer has designed an 80-foot expandable trailer to accommodate the tree's size. The tree's progress can be tracked online at as it makes its way from Washington state to Washington, DC, thanks to a satellite locating system installed in the trailer.

The Christmas tree is scheduled to arrive in Washington, DC, on Nov. 27. The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives will light the tree at a special ceremony on Dec. 6.

- By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer