PA Governor Rendell Joined by Chilean Officials and Mine Rescue Team Members to Light Capitol Christmas Tree

Dec 08, 2010, 12:30 ET from Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today was joined by Chilean Minister of Defense Jaime Ravinet, Chilean Ambassador Arturo Fermandois and representatives of three Pennsylvania companies that played pivotal roles in the Chilean mine rescue to celebrate the lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree.

The theme for this year's ceremony was "Home for the Holidays," recognizing the efforts of the Pennsylvania companies and Chilean officials who worked together to rescue 33 miners in Chile who were trapped underground in early August.

"For many people, Christmas is a time best spent with family, friends and loved ones," Governor Rendell said. "For the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground during a mine collapse in early August, that didn't seem possible. It was first feared the miners would not be rescued before Christmas, which would have meant a nearly four-month stay underground.

"Thanks to the efforts of today's special guests, the families of these 33 men received an early Christmas present when they were able to rejoin their loved ones in early October – well ahead of the original timetable."

The three firms recognized were Center Rock Inc., of Berlin, Somerset County; Schramm Inc., of West Chester, Chester County; and ARAMARK, of Philadelphia.

Other speakers included Liz O'Reilly, acting secretary of the Department of General Services, Rev. Bishop Nathan Baxter of the Episcopal Diocese of Central PA, Fred Strathmeyer of Strathmeyer Forests, Inc. in York, and a representative of the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association. The association donated the 21-foot tall Concolor, which was grown by Crystal springs Tree Farm in Carbon County.

Holiday music was provided by the Central Dauphin High School Singers, under the direction of Charles Masters.

The tree is decorated with 600 energy-saving LED lights. It also features more than 300 handmade ornaments that were donated by the members of senior centers throughout the state through the coordination of the Department of Aging. The tree, which stands in the Capitol's Main Rotunda, will be lit from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Jan. 7.

Media contacts:

Troy Thompson, Dept. of General Services; 717-787-3197

Mia DeVane, Governor's Office; 717-783-1116

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor