Pat Shingleton: "The Christmas Tree Ship and Coats for Kids."
The Rouse Simmons sank during a winter gale on November 23, 1912. For 30 years the schooner brought Christmas trees from Northern Michigan and Wisconsin to Chicago. “The Little Blue Book” notes that it would arrive at Chicago’s docks in early December, decorated with Christmas lights. The public boarded the ship, purchasing balsam, pine trees, garland, and wreaths. It was dubbed the “Christmas Tree Ship” and the ship’s captain, Herman Schuenemann, gave trees to poorer residents and was dubbed - Captain Santa. Following the sinking of Rouse Simmons and its cargo of 5,000 trees, the tradition continued. Today, trees grown in northern Michigan are purchased by the Christmas Ship Committee of Chicago. In early December, they navigate Lake Michigan with the assistance of the United States Coast Guard. Finally, my deepest appreciation to all that contributed to "Pat's Coats for Kids." For 28 years we have attempted to make sure that kids are a little warmer at the bus stop as we move through the cold days of December, January, February, March and early April. It is very easy to be a spokesperson for a project or event. I am blessed to have an association with a powerhouse such as WBRZ that advances my message as I am surrounded by a marvelous cadre of professionals who assist me. Yesterday, we recognized my partner, Gwen Green, with me through these many years. My thanks to the folks at St. Vincent de Paul, PODS of Baton Rouge and our sponsors: EBR Recycling, Neighbor's Federal Credit Union, The Baton Rouge Clinic and our longest-running sponsor, Coldwell Banker One. More importantly, thanks to all that have contributed. As I have always noted in our marketing efforts, "Not amount is too small when we are assisting the Needy."