The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree, which traveled across the nation on its way to Washington, D.C., made a pit stop Saturday afternoon in Mt. Morris.
It rolled by the village in Greene County near the West Virginia state line about 4:30 p.m. and was greeted by Daryl Throckmorton and his family.
Throckmorton’s cousin, Greg Moore, is the “head federal officer” of Willamette National Forest in Oregon, where the Capitol tree came from this year, so he was in charge of picking out the tree.
“This is just where they happened to pick it this year,” he said. “His job was to pick a tree and to escort it.”
The tree was already decorated and put into a 120-foot long tractor trailer, the back end of which is glass so people can see the top of the tree.
“You could just see it coming down the interstate,” said Lorraine Adams Hamman, Throckmorton’s niece. “It’s this massively long trailer all decorated in Christmas lights.”
Throckmorton said the tree traveled across the country, making scheduled stops in different towns, for people to see the tree and sign a banner on the truck. Mt. Morris wasn’t a scheduled stop, but since Throckmorton’s cousin was part of the security team leading the entourage – and because they needed a bathroom break – they made a last-minute decision to stop in Mt. Morris.
Adams Hamman, of Monongahela Township, said Saturday’s stop was only for about 20 minutes, and it wasn’t publicized because they didn’t want big crowds.
“It was really neat though,” she said. “There were very few spaces left to sign your name.”
She said federal workers drove around the Oregon forest to look for potential tree candidates.
“An architect came out to look at the tree to approve it,” she said.
The round trip to escort the tree takes about six weeks, Throckmorton said. His cousin, Moore, is set to retire in January, he said.
“This was a nice send-off for him,” Throckmorton said. “They had a big banner that we all got to sign.”
The tree traveled about 3,000 miles and arrived in the nation’s capital Monday. Throckmorton said his cousin helped him and his wife, Robin, get VIP tickets to the tree-lighting ceremony Dec. 5, which include a reception afterwards.