SAVANNAH, Ga — When the 2004 Capitol Holiday Tree makes its trek to the capitol this November, it will ride on a Great Dane flatbed.
The opportunity to participate in this one-of-a-kind haul was presented to Great Dane by customer Camrett Logistics, which is providing the tractor and drivers for the occasion.
"It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be selected for this, and we are quite honored to be a part of it," said Collin Peel, president of Camrett. "We thought it was a great chance for the company to donate not just the tractor, but the drivers’ time as well."
In fact, it is a group effort between Camrett and its drivers. Camrett is providing the drivers’ per diem, but the five volunteer drivers who will be running the route are donating their time. It should be fun for the drivers, noted Peel, as they will get to see customers and their families and friends while they travel through 33 communities in 14 days, covering some 2,600 to 2,700 miles just in the state of Virginia.
In addition to the specially built 48-foot Freedom flatbed extendable model, Great Dane is also donating 50 of its 1/43 scale model flatbeds to the Capitol Holiday Tree project. The company’s contributions to the 2004 Capitol Holiday Tree project made Great Dane eligible for the James Madison level sponsorship.
"We are pleased that Camrett provided us with the opportunity to be a part of this very special haul and the ability for Great Dane to make a donation to this occasion," said Chris Adkins, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Great Dane Trailers. "It is a privilege for us to be a part of this year’s Capitol Holiday Tree Project." Camrett took delivery of the Great Dane Freedom on Oct. 22 from Great Dane’s Memphis plant.
The Commonwealth of Virginia was given the honor to provide the 2004 Capitol Holiday Tree with participation from the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.
This gift to the nation is from the entire state. In July, U.S. Capitol Landscape Architect Matthew Evans selected a beautiful 70-foot red spruce located in Highland County on the Warm Springs Ranger District of the George Washington National Forest. Evans visited several candidate trees on the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests before making the final selection.
The tree’s location will not be specifically revealed until early November, when it is cut and readied for the Send-Off Ceremony, which will be hosted by Highland County on Nov. 13 at 2 p.m. at the Highland County Fairground in Monterey. The public is invited to attend and see the beautiful red spruce before it leaves on its journey to Washington, D.C.
The Capitol Holiday Tree will travel throughout the Commonwealth so that all Virginians will have a chance to see the tree before it goes to Washington, D.C. In addition, schoolchildren and citizens across Virginia will make 4,500 ornaments that will decorate the tree.
In December, as America watches, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives will throw the switch, lighting the magnificent holiday tree on the front lawn of the nation’s capitol.
Approximately 70 smaller trees donated by Christmas tree farmers from across Virginia will be distributed among Washington, D.C., House and Senate office buildings and other government offices as a gift from the people of Virginia.
NASCAR driver Ward Burton, who is from Halifax, Va., is serving as the Celebrity Chair for the 2004 Capitol Holiday Tree project. Ward’s popularity as a NASCAR personality, his passion for the outdoors and the fact that he is a Virginia native make this a perfect fit.
For more details, visit www.greatdanetrailers.com or for information on the 2004 Capitol Holiday Tree project, visit www.capitolholidaytree2004.org
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