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50-Year White House Groundskeeper is Surprised With Elm Tree Planted To Honor Him For 200 Years



C-Span video

Presidents come and go from these grounds outside the White House, but the beloved members of their staff—like Dale Haney—stay behind to serve the next First Family.

The Bidens this week surprised this longtime groundskeeper who has cared for the White House Rose Garden, hundreds of trees, and more, for a half century.

Befitting Haney’s legacy, the Bidens chose a tree planting ceremony and together the trio planted an American Elm, which has a life expectancy of up to 200 years.

Jill Biden described Haney as “one of the most beloved people here.”

Over his 50 years he has served 10 American presidents, starting with Richard Nixon, and has become the keeper of the president’s pets—from Nixon’s King Timahoe to George W. Bush’s Barney, to Obama’s Bo, and Biden’s German Shepherd, Commander.

Haney told the President the elm will eventually provide shade so “Commander and I can sit out there this summer.”

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Haney, who helped Michelle Obama start her Kitchen Garden, which is still in operation today.

He helped supervise fifty years of the White House Easter Egg Roll, and every year he chooses the evergreen that will become the official White House Christmas tree.

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When questioned by the Associated Press, many past presidents and their wives praised his care for their animals and the passionate manner with which he helped their staff.

“Indeed, you have made and lived history,” the Clintons wrote in a note to Haney.


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