Capitol Christmas tree makes stop in Chesterfield

Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 5:36 PM EST
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Chesterfield, Va. (WWBT) - The nation’s Christmas tree made a stop in Chesterfield on the way to Washington, D.C., to make a final debut.

It was the 17th stop the Red Spruce has made from Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina.

Carrying the tree from city to city is one big responsibility.

“It’s just hard to describe in words the experience. Once in a lifetime,” said Deb and Ted Kingdon.

For nearly two weeks, trucker couple, Deb and Ted, have driven the tree, also known as Ruby, across North Carolina and Virginia.

Wednesday’s stop at 84 Lumber only added to the excitement on their journey to the U.S. Capitol.

“Truly a wonderful experience to get up every morning to be thinking of our next stop and the crowds that come out,” Deb said.

Dressed in over 12,000 hand-made decorations, sightseers stood in awe at the size of Ruby and even signed their names to the accompanied banners.

This year, the 78-foot-tall tree was provided by the National Forests of North Carolina.

“Our employees were looking [in] the forest to find that perfect tree,” James Melonas, forest supervisor of the National Forest of North Carolina, said.

“Then a representative from the Capitol came this summer and selected Ruby,” he said.

He said the national tree, also known as “The People’s Tree,” must be 60-80 feet tall and beautiful all around to be chosen.

Wednesday’s ceremony at Ruby’s quick stop at 84 Lumber also highlights the meaning of Christmas - giving back.

When Ruby makes her next stop in Maryland, a truckload of companion trees will be gifted to military members at Joint Base Andrews.

84 Lumber also gifted a $100,000 check to The Richmond Fisher House Foundation, supporting veteran families being treated at the VA.

As a veteran himself, Ted couldn’t be more honored to be a part of such an incredible journey.

“It’s just unbelievable the joy that’s [felt]. ‘Thank you for coming,’ and of course, we say ‘thank you for coming out and supporting us,’” he said.

The national tree lighting ceremony will be held at the end of this month. After the holiday season, the branches will be used for biofuel, seeds will be harvested, and the tree trunk will be turned into musical instruments that will be donated to schools in North Carolina.