Inside Children's Blog akronchildrens.org

Building on the Promise superintendent gets into the Christmas spirit

Tom Conti with Christmas tree he and his family donated for the construction site.

Tom Conti with Christmas tree he and his family donated for the construction site.

With Santa Claus’ yearly trek around the globe quickly approaching, Building on the Promise Project Superintendent Tom Conti wanted to do something special for the kids.

They hold a special place in his heart, especially after his 9-year-old son was hospitalized at Akron Children’s about 5 years ago with the West Nile virus.

“When you have something like that happen, you’ll do anything for these kids,” said Conti of Welty-Boldt. “I know what they’re going through..”

While driving by a downtown Cleveland construction site a few years back, he spotted a Christmas tree hanging from a crawler crane. He loved the idea and someday wanted to do something similar on one of his own job sites.

With Akron Children’s $200 million expansion project well underway, he finally had the perfect spot not only to carry out his plan, but also ignite the Christmas spirit in the hearts of all these special children.

“It was an idea and I wasn’t sure if it was going to pan out,” said Conti. But, he set out to make his wish a reality anyway.

First, he approached Akron Children’s executives and All Tower Cranes — the company supplying and managing the 2 cranes on-site — to get their blessings and determine the safest way to execute the plan.

tom-hauling-xmas-treeThen, Conti and his family traveled out to the Bolivar-based tree farm — the same one they’ve purchased a tree from for their home the past 20 years — in search of the perfect Christmas evergreen. Once they spotted the 13-foot beauty, they immediately got to work, cutting it down and attempting to haul it away.

“The tree was so large we couldn’t budge it with the sled,” laughed Conti. “So, we walked back to the shanty and talked the crew into hauling the tree with their tractor. . That was the only way to get it out.”

xmas-tree-suspended-at-nighThe Welty/Boldt carpenters decorated the gigantic tree on site with 450 LED lights. They powered the tree with the 12-volt car battery and converter that All Tower Cranes donated to illuminate the tree each night.

Then, Conti and the team put together a plan to rig it up 150’ above the ground on the east tower crane — the one that faced the kids in the hospital.

They used a cabling system that traveled down the tree to secure it on the crane hook. To ensure safety, All Tower Cranes recommended a safe distance off the ground based on blustery wind speeds and ensured the tree could not blow across any pedestrian locations.

“I’m excited the whole plan came together for the kids,” said Conti. “All we’re getting is positive feedback from the staff that the kids are just amazed by it.”

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