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Since I was a kid, I’ve always been fascinated by the open road. It had such a significant impact on me that I decided to make trucking my career. For over 21 years, I’ve been proud to be part of an essential industry. But my current load gives me an especially strong sense of pride.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been part of a team of professional truck drivers who are working to safely deliver the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree from California to our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C.
Jeremy Bellinger with the truck transporting the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree. ( (System Transport))
Since the tree was harvested on Oct. 23 from the Six Rivers National Forest in Eureka, California, our team has traveled over 4,000 miles to transport the 84-foot-tall and 19-foot-wide white fir, affectionally nicknamed “Sugar Bear,” to D.C. on our Kenworth truck. Throughout the journey, my team and I made 26 stops from coast to coast and have met some amazing people in dozens of our country’s beautifully diverse communities.
I am very excited to be a part of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree team because it’s one way for me to do something great for my country. After congenital health conditions prevented me from serving in the military, I welcomed the opportunity to serve our country through this very special contribution: delivering “the People’s tree” for all to see.
Since the tree was harvested on Oct. 23 from the Six Rivers National Forest in Eureka, California, our team has traveled over 4,000 miles to transport the 84-foot-tall and 19-foot-wide white fir, affectionally nicknamed “Sugar Bear,” to D.C. on our Kenworth truck.
I am not only grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I also feel incredibly proud to represent my company, System Transport, during this experience. Our company was selected from among the 500,000 trucking companies nationwide to safely transport this year’s tree.
U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree truck traveling through California. (James Edward Mill)
Nothing makes me prouder than being part of the trucking industry, especially during the holiday season – when deliveries are so important. The food at holiday feasts and the lights on your tree are just a few of the things delivered to you by a truck that help to make the holidays merry and bright.
This year, as we continue to recuperate and emerge from pandemic backlogs, there is an increased pressure on our nation’s supply chain. I know one thing for sure; the trucking industry is working hard to prevent any disruptions in deliveries to your home and store shelves.
Trucking truly is the backbone to our country and economy. Every day, the 3.6 million professional truck drivers on America’s roads deliver to over 80% of our communities. Day after day, we deliver all the goods that keep our communities supplied – everything from the medical supplies in our hospitals, to the produce in our grocery stories, to the clothing on our backs.
Trucking truly sustains the nation and keeps us all moving forward, and I am thankful to belong to such a great industry.
As we prepare to make our final stop in Washington D.C., I am looking forward to taking part in the tree lighting festivities on the Capitol lawn and witness the tree – decorated with thousands of ornaments made by Californians – light up the Capitol area.
Making the decision to join the trucking industry was one of the greatest choices I have ever made, but I never would have imagined my career would lead me to this unique opportunity. During this holiday season, I have much to be thankful for, but I am especially thankful to be able to serve my family and my country in such a wonderful way this year.