Sunday, December 21, 2014

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Hudson Valley

Rockefeller Christmas tree crafted into new home

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Albany/HV: Rockefeller Christmas tree crafted into new home
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The famous Rockefeller Christmas tree is lighting up the home of a Newburgh family.
Venise Toussaint has the story.

NEWBURGH, N.Y. -- From tree, to lumber, and now a new home. The Rockefeller Christmas tree, a staple in New York City, comes to Newburgh.

“There are not even words for what a gift it is,” said Cathy Collins of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh.

The 12-ton tree, which was grown at a Hudson Valley farm, was donated to Habitat for Humanity. Each year, volunteers use the trunk to build a new home for a family in need and perhaps what makes this year extra special, is the family receiving it.

The new home owner Raymonde Extanus said, “I’m so glad to have a new house with my children.”

The Exantus family comes to Newburgh from Haiti, forced to live on the street after losing everything during the earthquake. They said they’re happy to have a brand new place to call home.

“I really appreciate the job that they are doing right now,” said a boy in the Exantus family.

The gift saves the nonprofit about $2,000 in lumber costs. It's the fourth year a Rockefeller tree has been donated to Habitat to continue spreading holiday cheer.

Collins said, “It’s a wonderful day of holiday giving and seeing how this tree has gone from a tree to lumber to now a place to call home.”

The home is the 51st to be completed by Habitat of Greater Newburgh. Lumber from the Rockefeller tree has also been used to build homes in Connecticut and Mississippi. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP