Minnesota Power community Christmas tree is a real Christmas storyCathie McGovern donated a huge, old conifer from her yard to Minnesota Power for its annual Christmas tree lighting in downtown Duluth.
By: Esther Piszczek, For the Budgeteer News
Cathie McGovern donated a huge, old conifer from her yard to Minnesota Power for its annual Christmas tree lighting in downtown Duluth.
“It was my husband’s idea,” McGovern said. Six years ago, McGovern’s husband died — and with him, their daily conversations. Recently, however, his spirit inspired a community gift that will be remembered for a long time.
The Piedmont resident said, “I was sorting through some of my husband’s papers recently and came across a note about the Minnesota Power Christmas tree.” The note inspired her to contact Minnesota Power and offer to donate the beautiful, old, and very large tree in her yard.
“It was way too big for the house and I thought it would make a beautiful Christmas tree,” said McGovern.
Known for her civic involvement and recognized last year as a leader in the community, “Cathie McGovern epitomizes this notion of community involvement, something this tree does as well,” said Amy Rutledge, Minnesota Power’s manager of corporate communications.
According to Rutledge, the tree stood at 67 feet tall, weighed 7,000 pounds, and was 110 years old when it was cut down on Election Day, Nov. 6.
In preparation for the 28th annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, Minnesota Power trimmed the tree to 55 feet tall, adorned it with 4,000 LED lights, and erected it in plaza at Lake Avenue and Superior Street. On Friday, Nov. 16, McGovern and her four grandchildren, ages 5 to 15, helped city and Minnesota Power officials light the tree.
“[It was a] special privilege to light the city Christmas tree,” said McGovern. “My grandkids loved it. They knew where the tree came from, and felt it was a good connection [to their grandfather],” she added.
The annual tree lighting ceremony kicked off the holiday season and the Christmas City of the North Parade in downtown Duluth.
“It’s just a gorgeous tree, and we are really glad she donated it,” said Rutledge.