GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A holiday tradition is still alive and well in Cheboygan. On Tuesday, the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, along with local volunteers loaded up 1,200 Christmas trees to be delivered to Chicago.

The tradition started in 1999, but its motivation dates back to 1912. That year, the Rouse Simmons — the “original Christmas tree ship” — capsized during a storm on Lake Michigan.

The Rouse Simmons helped spread holiday cheer in the Windy City, carrying Christmas trees from northern Michigan’s forests to be sold in Chicago. Now, the Mackinaw follows the Rouse Simmons’ course and brings trees for families in need.

The Mackinaw is scheduled to depart Cheboygan on Saturday and arrive in Chicago on Dec. 2. The ceremony and giveaway will be held at Navy Pier on Dec. 3.