WASHINGTON (WOWK) — For the first time in half a century, the US Capitol Christmas tree was cut in West Virginia by West Virginians, and you can see a live stream of them setting it up HERE!
One of the men who chopped it down is Arden Cogar, Jr., 54. He’s originally from Webster County, but he calls the Kanawha Valley home.
In Charleston, people know Cogar as a civil defense attorney at MacCorkle Lavender & Sweeney. He has won all but one of the 50 cases he’s taken to court.
As a lumberjack, Cogar has won 55 world titles. He’s been chopping wood since he was seven years old, and his family has been involved with lumberjacking for six generations.
“I love lumberjacking,” Cogar said. “I love the timber industry. I love West Virginia.”
This holiday season, Cogar was chosen to help cut the Christmas tree for the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Cogar says the opportunity was a dream come true.
“I was floored. I was simply floored,” Cogar said. “Honestly I cried for 30 minutes before I could go tell my wife.”
Last week, Cogar helped cut down a 63-foot-tall Norway spruce from the Monongahela Forest. And in the spirit of Christmas, the tree was cut in the snow.
“We get up to where the tree was at and it was a winter wonderland. It was beautiful,” Cogar said. “There was snow on the ground, snow on the trees. I couldn’t ask for a more memorable moment to do this wonderful event.”
In the Cogar family, cutting Christmas trees to be sent to Washington is becoming a family tradition. In 1962, Cogar’s father, Arden Cogar Sr., cut the White House tree when John F. Kennedy was president.
Cogar says being involved in this tradition is an honor he’s thrilled to be a part of.
“It took us a long time, about six, seven, eight minutes with the axe and the saw,” Cogar said. “But it’s a part of the tradition that makes West Virginia what it is.”
When he’s not cutting down trees, Cogar is in the courtroom representing his clients. He says practicing law helps him express his competitiveness as much as lumberjacking does.
“I put on a suit and tie and go and argue in front of judges and justices. That’s what I do,” Cogar said.
Cogar also has two daughters, both of whom are training to be lumberjacks as well.