Capitol Christmas tree hauler heads back to work

| 12/5/2008

OOIDA member Gordy Grove of Langley, WA, said it is back to business as usual for him now that he’s delivered his precious cargo – the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree – to its new home on the West Lawn of the Capitol in Washington, DC.

Grove was a featured guest at the special lighting ceremony as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi formally lit the tree earlier this week.

However, Grove said his involvement in hauling the 73-foot subalpine fir tree, which was handpicked from Montana, actually began in mid-October. He first had to pick up the specially designed 80-foot trailer from Alabama before heading to Montana to load up the tree.

That’s when Grove said he started his 4,000-mile journey, complete with 28 stops, to the U.S. Capitol. He said more than 44,000 people signed the banner on the side of the trailer along the way.

“It was a great opportunity and I was honored to be chosen for the job,” Grove told Land Line Magazine on Friday, Dec. 5. “The tree was the perfect shape, and it was a beautiful tree.”

This is the second time Grove has been chosen to haul the U.S. Capitol tree. In 2006, he hauled a 65-foot Pacific silver fir tree from his home state of Washington. In 2005, Grove hauled the companion trees to Capitol Hill.

Grove said he plans to take some much needed rest and relaxation in mid-December. He said that although there is a lot of planning and stress that goes along with hauling the trees to DC, he said he would jump at the opportunity to be selected for the job again next year.

“There is a lot of work involved, but it is such an honor to be picked,” he said.

OOIDA Vice President Todd Spencer was on hand to witness Grove roll into DC on Nov. 24. Spencer also had a chance to speak with Grove about his twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“Gordy is a really good operator, a super nice guy and a true professional,” Spencer told Land Line Magazine recently. “He really impressed the folks from the U.S. Forest Service. They had nothing but complimentary things to say about Gordy and his great driving abilities in maneuvering the trailer where it needed to be.”

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer