Windsor Family Gives Christmas Tree to State of Vermont
In Windsor yesterday, the Vezina family tree is picked up by a crane after being cut and loaded on a truck to be taken to the Vermont State House to be the state Christmas tree. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Ron Vezina counts 21 rings in the stump of the Vermont state Christmas tree after it was cut down at his home in Windsor. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Capitol complex grounds supervisor Ira Moser finishes securing a line to the top of the Venzina family's 40-foot balsam fir tree before it is cut down. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
With the tree supported by a crane, Ira Moser guides the tree onto a trailer to transport it to Montpelier. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Stephanie Sayers slips off of the trailer after securing ropes to the 40-foot tree that will be taken to Montpelier. Sayers works for the grounds crew at the Capitol Complex. (
Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Ira Moser calls the the crane operator to lower the tree a bit more onto the trailer. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Lenoura Vezina photographs old Christmas lights on the family tree before it is transported to Montpelier. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Ron and Lenoura Vezina talk with Ira Moser after their forty foot tree was cut in their yard to become the Vermont State Christmas tree. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
The Vezina tree is driven down Main Street in Windsor on its way the the Vermont State House in Montpelier.
(Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Windsor — For as long as Malisa Williams can remember, the balsam fir tree stood proud in the front yard of her childhood home.
As a focal point on the 14-acre property off Estey Lane in Windsor, generations of the Vezina family enjoyed the tree, playing and riding bikes around its branches — before it became too large, that is.
“My grandson would ride all the way around the tree,” homeowner Lenoura Vezina said. “Until it grew too big and he couldn’t get around it because of that retaining wall.”
The trees branches grew wider and wider, eventually meeting up with the wall and blocking all access from one side.
Vezina and her husband, Ron, stood teary-eyed yesterday morning as they watched Vermont state workers prepared to fell the 40-foot tree and ultimately cut it down, aided by a rope and crane.
Once cut, the tree was hoisted by crane onto a flatbed trailer and driven to Montpelier to become the 2012 Vermont State Christmas tree; an honor that is well worth the pain of seeing it leave, Ron Vezina, the assistant fire chief in Windsor and a former selectman, said.
“It’s been a cool tree and now the state of Vermont can enjoy it and all of those in Montpelier,” he said, as he held tight onto a cup of coffee. “I love being able to share it.”
Lenoura Vezina said a large contributing factor to donating the tree was to regain the view from outside her kitchen window. The Vezinas run a 4-H club and Lenoura said she can now watch the children out in the riding ring again.
“It grew way too big, way bigger than we ever imagined,” she said of the tree, as she snapped photos from every angle and talked about how she wished it were planted in a different location.
Williams said she remembered the tree being small for many of its 21 years. She said, however, within the last five years the tree grew extensively. She laughed with her parents yesterday, reminiscing of the times when Ronnie would scorn the 4-H students for climbing the tree, or when he would attempt to decorate it.
“I remember the production you went through,” Williams said to her father.
As the tree was laid gingerly down on the flatbed trailer, old Christmas lights could be seen left over from Ron’s decorating days, which he said ended 10 years ago when the tree became too large to decorate.
The tree will be planted and decorated once more, as it’s placed in a cast iron tube, many feet in the ground, for all Vermonters to see.
Next Thursday at 4:30 p.m., residents will gather for the lighting and Gov. Peter Shumlin will honor the Vezinas for their gift. The Windsor Junior/Senior High School chorus will also be present.
The search for the right candidate for this tradition began in early October, Ira Moser, Montpelier’s building and general services ground supervisor, said. There were two other close candidates, residing in Arlington and Waterbury, but “the shape” set this one apart, Moser said. He added he also pays close attention to size and the location of the tree to make sure it can be extracted easily.
Miller Construction’s crane hoisted Moser into the air as he placed a rope two-thirds of the way up the tree in order for it to act as harness and allow the tree to be suspended in mid-air.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “A little nerve wracking,” not of his free flight, but of handling the state’s holiday tree.
“I guess I’m in the Christmas spirit,” he said.
State Curator David Schutz informed the Vezinas their tree won the state competition in early November. This tree was the second one the Vezinas donated this season, the first going to the town of Windsor for its Christmas tree.
“It’s a very well shaped tree and very nicely filled out,” Schutz said of the State tree. “Trees that grow to this height often have issues.”
State Rep. Donna Sweaney, D-Windsor, said she was proud to have the state tree come from Windsor, the birthplace of Vermont.
“It’s very fitting,” she said. “I think it is incredibly generous to donate a tree with that many years of growing.”
Although Lenoura Vezina agreed donating the tree was well worth it, she admitted she second-guessed the choice late Wednesday night.
“I had mixed feelings last night,” she said. “I went to bed saying, ‘maybe I’ll change my mind,’ but I decided it was the right decision. And it was.”
Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.