Columbia County's official Christmas tree, which was bent and misshapen by January's ice storm, was restored almost to its original yuletide shape thanks to a local tree professional.
Bobby Tamenek, president of Stallion Tree Professionals, offered to try and repair the deciduous tree for free. Tamenek said he often offers assistance to churches and rescues lots of cats stranded in trees.
A few of the tree's main stems, which have been weighed with Christmas lights during the county's Christmas celebration in 2002 and 2003, were instead heavy with ice, which bent them outward Jan. 26.
"I just hope there is something we can do with it," said Barry Smith, the county's director of Community and Leisure Services, before Tamenek began working on the tree Friday afternoon.
Tamenek, who has worked with trees in the area for 17 years, used his bucket truck and rubber tubing to tie the bent branches to the remaining upright stem to regain the Christmas tree shape.
There were fears the maneuver would cause the entire tree to lean if the upright stem wasn't strong enough, or that bending the limbs back upright would break them. But the tree held, and Tamenek said he that he hopes the fix will last.
If it doesn't, Tamenek said he has other ideas to ensure the tree will be the center of the county's Christmas celebration for a third year.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.