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Second life as lumber (part 3) -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Second life as lumber (part 3)

Raymonde Exantus was reunited with her sons — Ralph, Junior and Marc — in a house built in Newburgh, New York, with lumber from the 2010
Rockefeller Center Tree. Photo courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh.


Workers mill the 2010 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree into lumber that was used in the construction of the Exantus family home. ©Habitat for Humanity International/Steffan Hacker


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The Exantus family: Reunited under one roof
Newburgh, New York
2010 tree

The Exantuses are Haitian immigrants with one surprising Christmas custom. On Christmas Day, in addition to native Haitian side dishes, mom Raymonde will cook up the family’s new American favorite: lasagna.

“We will have dinner as a family on Christmas Day, then go to church,” said Raymonde’s son Ralph, 19, a student at nearby State University of New York’s Orange County campus.

Less than three years ago, Ralph and his younger brothers, Junior and Marc, were in Port-au-Prince, living on the streets after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

The family was separated, with Raymonde in the United States, but now they are reunited. As of July 1, they are living in a Habitat for Humanity house built from lumber from the 2010 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

“It’s wonderful to be in this house,” Ralph said. “It’s something we appreciate so much.”