The usual day that the Basking Ridge Fire Co. puts up and decorates its choice for holiday tree in the center of town is drawing near — the day after Thanksgiving — and the fire company still is in search of a tree that hasn't been downed or damaged by Sandy.
For decades, the fire company has traditionally set up the tree each year in the center of town. However, this year’s tree and also the runner-up choice both were ruined by Superstorm Sandy.
Trees are normally donated by residents of Bernards Township, or nearby, and are removed from the donor's property by the fire company. The volunteers then transport the tree to the green by The Presbyterian Church of Basking Ridge.
"The trees that were selected were damaged to a point where they are unable to be used," said the fire company's public information officer, ex-chief Jack McGrath.
McGrath said that if possible the fire company and first aid squad would like to keep up the tradition of putting up the tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Anyone with a pine tree that they feel might be good choice to serve as the township’s holiday tree should contact the fire company, which would come out and cut the tree down before removing it from the property.
The evergreen tree still should be upright in the ground and not fallen, McGrath said.
Anyone with a possible tree should contact Todd Middleton at T.Middleton@brfco.com or leave a voicemail at 908-766-9261. "Your contribution will be appreciated," McGrath said.
The ideal candidate is a well-rounded evergreen at least 30 feet high, one that isn't mishappen from growing too close to a house or for another reason, Middleton said a few weeks ago.
But he acknowledged that with so many storm-damaged trees in the area, this year's holiday tree may end up not quite being the ideal choice.