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Branching out

Employee’s ornaments displayed at White House

Woman holds ornament near Christmas tree
Jennifer Dodson, a retail associate in Fremont, MO, and a longtime artist, displays one of the handcrafted ornaments she created for Missouri’s state Christmas tree in Washington, DC.

Jennifer Dodson was no ordinary attendee at the recent National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony near the White House.

The Fremont, MO, retail associate’s hand-painted ornaments are on display along a walkway surrounding the national tree.

The walkway, known as the Pathway of Peace, features 56 trees representing every U.S. state and territory. Dodson’s 12 ornaments were the only ones selected to decorate the Missouri tree this year.

“It’s unbelievable to have that kind of an honor,” said Dodson, who began painting ornaments three years ago.

After the National Park Service issued a call for ornaments to decorate the state trees, officials at the Ozark National Scenic Riverways tapped Dodson to create Missouri’s decorations.

Dodson is a longtime volunteer and artist for Ozark, the first national park area to protect a river system.

It took her four hours to paint each ornament, which all depict national parks and historic sites in Missouri. An ornament featuring President Truman’s home is displayed inside the White House Visitor Center.

Dodson is proud to use her ornaments to show off the Show-Me State.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said.

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