Bill Heins of Lyon County, Kansas is a Jeep fanatic.
1982 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler
25th in the All-American Trucks series.
He has five of them in working order and several more that are in parts. Now, he has one that’s much smaller — small enough to hang on a Christmas tree.
One of his Jeeps was used to as a model for a 2019 Hallmark Christmas ornament.
Heins got in touch with Hallmark after a friend of his, Mike Starkebaum of Topeka, learned that Hallmark was looking for a stock Jeep Scrambler to model an ornament after.
“Mike knew mine was 100 percent stock,” Heins said. “So he contacted me.”
It had the dimensions Hallmark was looking for in a model.
They arranged a day for Heins to drop off his Jeep at Starkebaum’s store, 4×4 Land, so some representatives from Hallmark could come down and get the vehicle’s specs.
Heins dropped his vehicle and went to run another errand in Topeka. When he came back, the Hallmark representatives had been and gone.
Though the ornament was just released July 13, all this happened quite a long time ago. Hallmark ornaments are planned at least 18 months before they come out, as Heins learned when his Jeep became one.
Heins is honored to have something based on his Jeep hanging on Christmas trees all across the nation this coming holiday season. He’s especially honored to be able to gain recognition for Scramblers such as his and further the cause for such vehicles.
“Just to have a Scrambler ornament was quite a privilege,” he said.
Heins is a member of the Scrambler Owners’ Association, a national group open to those who own Scramblers, which were only built from 1981 to 1986.
Three of Heins’ Jeeps are Scramblers.
“When you’re wanting to see something preserved, you try to take the opportunities to allow it to happen,” he said.
Bill Heins of Lyon County, Kansas (right) stands with Steve Farley, Hallmark President of Retail Business in front of Heins’ Jeep Scrambler.
When the ornaments were released to the public for purchase, Heins was invited up to a Hallmark store in the Kansas City area, where the company is headquartered.
“The manager is a Jeep person and had found out about my involvement,” he said.
The manager, Misty Heitman, wanted to have one of the vehicles at her shop to draw attention to the ornament reveal and to let shoppers get a good look at it before buying a miniature version.
Heins agreed to drive up to the shop, purchase a few of the Jeep ornaments, and show people his Scrambler. Another friend who owns a similar Jeep also attended.
“We believe in preserving the Scrambler Jeep and this is just a small way to make sure it happens,” he said.
The ornament is part of a series Hallmark has been creating each Christmas for years, based on vehicles.
According to Heins, the 2019 ornament is the first one the company has ever made that was based on a Scrambler.
It is white with a Christmas tree and a large, wrapped present in the bed of the truck.
A Jeep Scrambler belonging to Bill Heins was used as the model for the 2019 Hallmark Christmas Ornament.
The ornament differs from Heins’ Jeep in some ways. Heins’ Scrambler is brown, for one thing. But it’s the preservation of the Scrambler that counts, as far as he’s concerned.
“Mine was just a small part of it,” he said.
The ornaments are currently available for purchase in Hallmark stores around the country.
By Lydia Kautz firstname.lastname@example.org
Reprint of: “Lyon County man’s Jeep used as model for 2019 Hallmark ornament”