From Holiday Icon to Habitat Homes

From Holiday Icon to Habitat Homes

On Saturday, December 10, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh celebrated with future homeowner families and dedicated two homes containing lumber from the 2015 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. The iconic tree will live on as a part of these two beautifully rehabbed homes that are a part of 4-house gut-rehab project on this block in partnership with the Newburgh Community Land Bank.

In a nearly decade-long tradition, Tishman Speyer, the owner and manager of Rockefeller Center, has donated lumber from the tree to Habitat for Humanity. In addition to donating the lumber, volunteers from Tishman Speyer joined Habitat Newburgh and helped to frame the walls with the special boards. This is the second time that this holiday symbol has become part of a Habitat home in Newburgh. Lumber from the 2010 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is now a permanent part of a home in Habitat Newburgh’s E. Parmenter Street Neighborhood.

“The tradition of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree represents so much joy and hope,” says Habitat Newburgh Executive Director Cathy Collins, “This spirit will live on in these homes and in this neighborhood that we are building in partnership with homeowner families and community partners. We are grateful to be part of this tradition that takes this special tree from symbol, to lumber, to home.”

The 78-foot-tall Norway spruce began its journey in Gardiner, NY in the front yard of Nancy Puchalski and Al Asendorf. Nancy grew up in the City of Newburgh and currently works at the Head Start of Eastern Orange County. She is so happy to know that the tree is now a part of a home for Newburgh families, “There were four generations in that tree and now it is going into homes for families that will hopefully have generations of love and family in their home too. It is beautiful to see it come full circle.”

Keith, future homeowner and single father of three, completed his required homeownership classes and sweat equity hours without telling his children that he applied to become a Habitat homeowner. At Saturday’s dedication, he surprised his family by revealing the completed house that he will soon purchase and they will move into. Keith expressed his feelings about what this home will mean for his family, “For my family, celebrating Christmas in our new home for the first time is something that we are already looking forward to, but knowing that our walls contain the lumber from the Rockefeller Tree will make the season even more special.”

Saturday’s festive dedication celebration included carols, holiday treats, Christmas decorations, and a visit from Santa Claus. As the 2015 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree completed its journey home to the Hudson Valley, two Newburgh families also celebrated the end of their journey to home.