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
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 www.trackthetree.com 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