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Pair to help haul nation's Christmas tree

November 19, 1996

By FRANCA LEWIS

Staff Writer

Two local business leaders will help haul a 70-foot spruce tree to the nation's capital for the holidays.

Donald Bowman, of D.M. Bowman Inc. trucking firm of Williamsport, and Ross Rhoads, of Mack Trucks Hagerstown plant, will drive the tree on one leg of the cross-country journey, which begins today in Salt Lake City.

The men were on the road and unavailable for interviews, but representatives for their companies confirmed the two were traveling together to bring the tree east.

Bowman will drive the flatbed Mack truck carrying the huge tree, according to Don Meckley, vice president of operations at D.M. Bowman. They will drive to South Dakota, Meckley said.

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Two other Mack trucks will make up the eastbound caravan, one of which will carry 40 smaller trees to be displayed in federal buildings and the National Botanical Gardens in Washington, D.C.

A third truck will be loaded with hundreds of stuffed bulldog toys donated by Mack Trucks. The toys will be donated in cities along the route to the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program, Meckley said.

It's the fourth consecutive year that Mack Trucks has been involved in carrying the nation's official Christmas tree on the 2,000-mile trip.

The tree was cut down Friday in Huntington Canyon, Utah, with the cooperation of the National Forest Service.

The caravan will reach Hagerstown on Nov. 30 and will travel to Washington the next day.

The tree will be adorned with more than 4,000 decorations made by school children in Utah to celebrate the state's centennial. The official lighting of the tree will take place Dec. 10 on the west lawn of the Capitol building.

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