Tip-top trees: Volunteers make special deliveries to Festival of Trees sponsors

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 12, 2006

By Susan Shinn

Salisbury Post

It takes an army of people to move a forest of trees. On Dec. 4, the day after the Arc’s Festival of Trees ended, volunteers fanned out across the county to deliver decorated Christmas trees in tip-top condition.

Sponsors could designate where they wanted their trees delivered. Some went to the sponsors; others went to non-profit agencies.

Steve Jarrett of Budget Rental Trucks donated two trucks for the deliveries; the third came from Rowan Vocational Opportunities.

Towne Pharmacy sponsored the “Putting on the Ritz” tree decorated by OCS studies classes at South Rowan High School. The tree, festooned with blue and gold ornaments and ribbons, arrived at the pharmacy last Monday with only a few balls on the tree skirt.

The trees were transported from the trolley barn in giant plastic bags. The bags were hidden under the tree skirts, pulled up to the top of the trees and bundled to their destinations.

Karen Young, a volunteer who served as the chair for the tree fluffers committee, came and replaced the fallen ornaments on the branches.

Young is an Arc past president and worked with the United Way agency during her 40 years as a guidance counselor and teacher. She asked friends and neighbors to be tree fluffers.

Towne Pharmacy has sponsored a tree all three years of the festival.

“It’s different every year and the money goes to a good cause,” said owner Charles Deadwyler.

That sentiment was echoed at Innes Street Drug.

“We’ve done it every year, and it’s a good way to support a good cause,” said Julie Fuller. “It helps add to our decorations in the store. We get so many compliments from people who come in.”

A whole group of tree fluffers came in to reposition and straighten the drug store’s tree.

Margaret and Bill Broadway brought along their daughter, Jan Huffman, their great-grandson, Micah Nguyen and their friend James Bradshaw.

Huffman carried a box containing a dustpan, brush, scissors, pliers and a screwdriver. This group knew that they were doing.

The Broadways have a mentally handicapped son, Lindsay, and have served as tree fluffers for three years.

“I guess I just get carried away,” Margaret Broadway said. “The trees are really diverse and really artistic.”

“Enjoy!” Broadway said as his group left the drug store, their mission complete.

“Y’all have a good day,” Huffman said. “Merry Christmas!”

Bill Greene of Wachovia Bank has a friend on the ARC board.

His tree, decorated by the Garden Greenhouse, arrived in perfect condition topped with a huge red and gold bow.

“I get to sit here and get in the Christmas spirit every day,” he said, his tree visible to passersby from the windows of his office.

Others who served as tree fluffers were Lynn Miller and Cora Shinn. Truck drivers and assistants included Steve Jarrett, James Wagoner, Joe Harris, Phil Harvell, Rick Bullock, Christ Henderson, Curtis Williams and Chris McLendon.

Between the sponsors and the decorators and the deliverymen and the tree fluffers, more than 100 volunteers helped make this year’s Festival of Trees a successful event, according to Jane Jackman, the Arc’s executive director.

The festival’s favorite tree award went to the Red Delicious tree, decorated by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and sponsored by Cloninger Ford-Toyota, where it is on display. The most original tree award went to the Smoke on the Mountain tree, decorated by Clyde Overcash and sponsored by F & amp;M Bank. It is on display at Rowan Vocational Opportunities.

Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or sshinn@salisburypost.com.