FAIRBANKS — John Schank looks a bit like Santa Claus, and he’ll be delivering quite the gift this Christmas season.

The Fairbanks truck driver has been selected to transport the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree from Alaska to Washington, D.C. Schank, a haul road driver for Lynden Transport, will lead the 4,000-mile cross-country expedition soon after the tree is cut from Chugach National Forest on Oct. 27.

Lynden company officials said Schank was an easy choice for the honor. He was recognized as the 2014 Drive of the Year by the Alaska Trucking Association after 37 years of accident-free driving between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay. Schank has logged 5 million miles on the Dalton Highway

The long white beard doesn’t hurt either, Lynden spokeswoman Tami Kinney said.

“He’s going to be a perfect face for Lynden as the drives across the country, because he looks like Santa,” she said. 

Lynden is one of more than a dozen companies donating services and support to the Capitol Christmas Tree journey. Since 1970, the U.S. Forest Service has provided a Christmas tree for the Capitol, with a different national forest chosen each year to provide “The People’s Tree.” This is the first year the tree has come from Alaska.

Numerous celebrations will accompany the trip, starting with Anchorage events on Oct. 30 at Cabela’s and Oct. 31 at Trick Or Treat Street. After traveling by boat to Seattle, the tree will travel by road to Washington, D.C.

For news about the journey and to track the tree cross-country, go online to www.capitolchristmastree.com or to USCapitolChristmasTree on Facebook.

Contact the newsroom at 459‑7572.