Podcast: Werner Enterprises Transportation Team’s Stories of Hauling the 2023 Capitol Christmas Tree
The lighting of the US Capitol Christmas Tree is an almost 60-year-old tradition that serves as the official start of the holiday season in Washington, DC.
However, few people realize this iconic tree’s incredible journey before adorning the Capitol Building’s West Lawn. From the deep forests of the country to our nation’s capital, truck drivers play a pivotal role in ensuring the safe and timely delivery of this symbol of holiday spirit.
In this week’s episode, our host, Brent Hutto, got the privilege of talking with the drivers of the 2023 Capitol Christmas tree as well as the drivers who hauled 84 companion trees and over ten thousand handmade ornaments. Listen as Werner Enterprise drivers, Tim Dean, Jesus Davila, and Steve and Gina Jones, share their unique paths into the trucking industry and their memorable experiences along the way from West Virginia to Washington D.C.
Reporting for Duty
While sharing a common mission this holiday season, each driver had distinctly different paths to trucking, all of which shaped their experience and qualifications for this special haul. Jesus Davila, a retired Marine, found his way to trucking after serving 12 years in the U.S. Marine Corp. Jesus talks about the parallels between military service and trucking—attention to detail, safety protocols, and situational awareness—emphasizing the seamless transition and the shared values between the two worlds. Jesus was partnered with long-time co-worker and buddy, Tim Davis to transport the Capitol tree. The two quickly realized they would have to rely on each other as they navigated from the winding roads of West Virginia to the narrow streets of Washington, D.C.
“You know, it’s just one of those moments where you had all the anxiety and nervousness of picking up the tree and now you have the anxiety of finally getting it done and off the trailer, and basically the load is delivered. So it was a good moment and a good feeling.” Jesus Davila
Another military veteran, Steve Jones also found his way into trucking after leaving the service. His wife, Gina, eventually joined Steve as a team driver. Gina underscored the supportive environment and outreach initiatives encouraging more female drivers to join.
Spreading Holiday Cheer Along the Way
At each stop, Jesus, Tim, Steve, and Gina were able to engage with the small communities. These interactions allowed people from all walks of life to experience the magic of the Capitol Christmas Tree, fostering a sense of unity and joy throughout.
“The truck was wrapped for the tour. So everywhere we went, people would just, they wanted pictures of that truck because that was West Virginia.” Tim Davis
After days on the road, the Capitol Christmas Tree finally arrived in Washington, D.C. The truck drivers, having overcome countless challenges and obstacles, savored the moment as the tree was ceremoniously unloaded and prepared for its grand unveiling. With the nation’s eyes upon them, these dedicated individuals took pride in their role of delivering this symbol of hope and celebration to the heart of the nation.