ELKINS, W.Va. (WBOY) — Two well-known sawyers will cut down the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from the Monongahela National Forest next week.
According to a press release, lifetime West Virginian and lumberjack Arden Cogar and 46-year Monongahela National Forest technician and veteran Ron Polgar have been selected for the job.
Cogar is a lawyer of 26 years in West Virginia, and his family has deep ties to the Forest. His father, Arden Cogar, Sr., harvested the 1976 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree from the Gauley Ranger District.
Cogar has also made a name for himself as a sawyer and has won 55 individual world titles as a lumberjack, according to the release.
“Monongahela National Forest has been part of my entire life,” said Cogar. “My family has worked the hills of West Virginia in the timber industry for six generations. But beyond that, we have acted as stewards of the forest to create a sustainable economy for the rural communities in the central highlands of West Virginia.”
Polgar is the longest-serving employee of the Forest, serving for more than 46 years. He is a biological technician and an expert botanist, according to the release.
He is also a veteran and served in the Vietnam War.
Now, Polgar has been coordinating the saw program in the Mon Forest since 1990.
“A childhood friend from New Jersey brought me to West Virginia, where I have stayed for nearly 50 years, finding the serenity and comfort of the mountains to my liking,” said Polgar.
The pair will harvest the 63-foot Norway Spruce that will serve as the Capital Christmas Tree during the first week of November. The tree will then tour around the state before it is set up at the Capitol.
The photos below provided by the U.S. Forest Service show the last time that West Virginia provided the tree in 1976.