“Endlessly Wild & Wonderful” -  The 2023 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Delights Crowds On Its Trek To Washington, D.C.

Pam Pollock
December 2023

The 2023 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, a 38 year old 63-foot-tall, 8,000 pound Norway Spruce, named “wa’feem’tekwi”, meaning “bright tree” by the Shawnee Tribe, was harvested on Nov. 1, from the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.

After the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was cut and loaded onto a Kenworth 100th Anniversary T680 Signature Edition truck. The 2023 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour began on November 4, with sixteen stops at various community locations in West Virginia, as well as a special stop at the Kenworth Plant in Chillicothe, Ohio and ended on November 17th when it arrived at the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Werner Enterprises is the official designated carrier for the 2023 tour.  Werner Professional Truck Drivers Jesus Davila and Tim Dean had the honor of transporting the Christmas tree.

The Kenworth T680 Signature Edition is  equipped with a 76-inch sleeper and the PACCAR Powertrain featuring the PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at 455 horsepower, PACCAR TX-12 automated transmission and PACCAR DX-40 tandem rear axles.

“Endlessly Wild & Wonderful,” is this year’s tour theme and the message is prominently displayed on the truck’s driver and passenger sides. The design also features the U.S. Capitol Building, U.S. Capitol Christmas tree, and a background of the sunset overlooking the Monongahela National Forest.

Movin’ Out Publisher Steve Pollock and myself met up with the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour on November 9th during its appearance at the White Palace at Wheeling Park, in Wheeling, West Virginia.  We watched in awe as Werner Driver Jesus Davilia maneuvered the 102’ ong trailer on the extremely narrow roads in the park.

Students from the Triadelphia Middle School choir sang Christmas carols to welcome the National Christmas Tree to the White Palace.  Law Enforcement officers from the USDA, Wheeling Police, and the West Virginia Police Departments provided an escort.

Spectators ranging from in age from infants to “older adults who were very much young at heart” took turns climbing ladders to sign the banners adorning the trailer and to take a peek at the tree inside the panels of the trailer.  Olaf, the Grinch, Smokey The Bear, and Woodsy Owl mingled and posed for photos.

In an interview with Steve Pollock, Werner drivers Jesus Davilia and Tim Dean both expressed that it truly was an honor to have been chosen to transport the National Capitol Christmas tree to Washington D.C.  Both men said the experience has been very rewarding and they have enjoyed the interactions with the people who come out to each town as the tour makes stops enroute to D.C.

Jesus Davilia, who resides in San Antonio, Texas, is a retired United States Marine Combat Veteran of 12 years, who served in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. During his service, he was the recipient of two personal awards with Combat Distinguishing Devices “V” and was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds sustained in combat.  He has been driving for Werner for 6 years and had  more than 550,000 accident-free miles.  He  is a 2022-2023 ATA Road Team Captain, as well as a  Werner Road Team Captain and Driver Leader. He also is part of the Dollar Elite Team and Leader Advisory Council at Werner,

Tim Dean has been with Werner for 35 years. During his career with Werner, he has become the  second professional driver in Werner’s history to achieve five million accident-free miles. In 2009-2010 he served as an ATA America’s Road Team Captain and has been a Werner Road Team Captain and mentor since 2005. Tim has competed in the Nebraska Truck Driving Championships for 22 years, placing first in his class nine times and was Grand Champion two times in 2012 and 2018. Dean, who resides in Griswold, Iowa,  was awarded the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance IDEA (International Driver Excellence Award) in 2019. In addition, Tim was the Nebraska Trucking Association Driver of the year in 2019.

The National Christmas Tree will be lit from nightfall until 11 pm each night through January 1, 2024.