A longtime Omaha holiday tradition continued Monday morning as crews from Union Pacific Railroad and Terry Hughes Tree Service cut down a 45 foot blue spruce.
The UP workers then delivered it to the Durham Museum where it will be decorated over the next several days. The tree lighting ceremony will be the night after Thanksgiving and will have extra special meaning this year.
The tree was donated by Jay and Kelly Incontro in memory of Kelly’s two daughters, Jordyn and Taylor Podraza. They were killed in a traffic accident in central Nebraska in December of 2010. They were 12 and 10 years old.
"It just makes us feel warm inside, helps with the healing process and acceptance of what happened," Kelly Incontro says. She says the tree will be a true reflection of who the girls were. "There will be two angels at the top. Jordyn and Taylor were definitely our guardian angels and they were many other family and friends' guardian angels as well."
Jay Incontro says donating the tree to the community is a great opportunity. "Anything to make Kelly a little closer to the girls, this is something that's giving to the community, it's great, we're very excited about it."
The tree harvesting tradition dates back to the 1930s when UP employees would cut Omaha’s Christmas tree from along the railroad right-of-way in the Pacific Northwest and transport the tree to Union Station. This holiday custom returned when Union Station became a museum in the 1970s.