CLARK, NJ – As Michael and Nicole Mignone looked on, Union County workers plucked a towering evergreen from the couple’s front lawn on Colonial Drive in just minutes on Monday morning. The tree was headed to the Union County courthouse rotunda, where it will hold a place of honor as the county’s Christmas tree through the holiday season.
“I’m going to miss it,” Nicole Mignone said. “But for a reason like this, it’s worth it.”
The tree was just seven feet tall when Michael Mignone bought the house 15 years ago. From the start, Michael Mignone said, he decorated it with lights and ornaments.
“I got a big kick out of decorating it every year,” he said. “When it was manageable, I even used to put a star on top. It got tougher and tougher as it grew, though.”
Now reaching 30-feet in height, the tree outgrew his extension ladder and, Michael Mignone said, the front lawn. Only the reachable part of the tree was decorated in the last couple of years, and even then it took 30 sets of lights. The Mignone’s neighbor suggested the family donate the tree to the county, like another Colonial Drive family had done in 2014.
“’Sure, if they’re interested, tell them to give me a call,’ I told him. And I got the call a couple of weeks ago,” Michael Mignone said. “I said okay; it would be a nice thing to do. We’re very much into the holiday spirit of Christmas.” He said his daughters, Kylie and Mia, were excited at the prospect and so the family arranged the donation with the county.
Freeholder Bruce Bergen stopped by to thank the Mignones and looked on as the crews rigged a harness around the tree's trunk. He explained the tree would be placed in the rotunda on Monday afternoon and decorated over the next couple of days. He invited the public to the county's holiday ceremony and Christmas caroling event on Dec. 24 at 10:30 a.m. in the courthouse.