Last year's Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has second life in vet's new home

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Last year's Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has second life in vet's new home

Exterior view of the house in Bridgeport, Conn. built with planks from the 2013 Rockefeller Christmas tree for Habitat for Humanity.

Home made from planks from the 2013 Rockefeller Christmas Tree under construction in Bridgeport, Conn.

Dale Shaw hard at work on his new home in Bridgeport, Conn.
The official 'Rockefeller Tree' stamp and some good wishes from a volunteer.
Marie, Dale, Anthony and Salina Shaw of Bridgeport, Conn.
Anthony, Marie and Salina Shaw in their new home.

Dale Shaw working on his new home in Bridgeport, Conn. The house is made with planks from the 2013 Rockefeller Christmas Tree.

Salina Shaw, 7-years-old, loves pink and spent time picking the perfect shade for her new bedroom.
Home constructed in Bridgeport, Conn. with planks from the 2013 Rockefeller Christmas Tree.
Marie, Dale, Anthony and Salina Shaw on the construction site of their new home in Bridgeport, Conn.
Dale, Marie, Anthony and Salina Shaw in their new dining room in Bridgeport, Conn.
Workers cut down the 2013 Rockefeller Tree in Shelton, Conn.

The Vargoshe boys of Shelton, CT take one last climb on their beloved tree.

Workers cut down the 2013 Rockefeller Tree in Shelton, Conn.

The Vargoshe boys ( Nathan, 16 and Noah, 13 ) count the rings of the stump to try and determine the Norway Spruce's age.

The Vargoshe family of Shelton, CT donated the tree in 2013. They plan to make tables for their two young sons with these slices of the tree's trunk.

A worker coils rope as the Rockefeller Center Tree is secured in place, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, in New York. The 76-feet tall Norway spruce, donated by John and Louise Vaargoshe, of Shelton, Conn., is approximately 75-years-old and weighs 12 tons. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: John Vargoshe hammers a piston into a 76-foot tall Norway Spruce, which came from his front lawn in Shelton, CT, while the tree is prepared to be the 2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on November 8, 2013 in New York City. The tree comes from the Vargoshe family' front lawn, it was likely planted in the 1950s. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: A 76-foot tall Norway Spruce, from Shelton, CT, hovers in mid air while it is hoisted into position as the 2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on November 8, 2013 in New York City. The tree comes from the Vargoshe family, it was likely planted in the 1950s. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: Workers prepare a 76-foot tall Norway Spruce, from Shelton, CT, to be hoisted into position as the 2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on November 8, 2013 in New York City. The tree comes from the Vargoshe family, it was likely planted in the 1950s. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Workers prepare the Rockefeller Center Tree, brought from Shelton, Conn., for its placement on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 at Rockefeller Plaza in New York. The 76-feet tall Norway spruce, donated by John Vargoshe and his wife Louise Vargoshe, is approximately 75 years-old and weighs 12-tons. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: Workers prepare a 76-foot tall Norway Spruce, from Shelton, CT, to be hoisted into position as the 2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on November 8, 2013 in New York City. The tree comes from the Vargoshe family, it was likely planted in the 1950s. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: Nathan Vargoshe, 15, hammers a piston into a 76-foot tall Norway Spruce, which came from his front lawn in Shelton, CT, while the tree is prepared to be the 2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on November 8, 2013 in New York City. The tree comes from the Vargoshe family' front lawn, it was likely planted in the 1950s. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: Workers position a 76-foot tall Norway Spruce, from Shelton, CT, into position as the 2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on November 8, 2013 in New York City. The tree comes from the Vargoshe family, it was likely planted in the 1950s. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: Workers prepare a 76-foot tall Norway Spruce, from Shelton, CT, to be hoisted into position as the 2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on November 8, 2013 in New York City. The tree comes from the Vargoshe family, it was likely planted in the 1950s. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: Workers position a 76-foot tall Norway Spruce, from Shelton, CT, into position as the 2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on November 8, 2013 in New York City. The tree comes from the Vargoshe family, it was likely planted in the 1950s. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: A 76-foot tall Norway Spruce, from Shelton, CT, is lifted into position as the 2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on November 8, 2013 in New York City. The tree comes from the Vargoshe family, it was likely planted in the 1950s. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR SWAROVSKI -For the 10th year, the Swarovski Star is raised to the top of the 76-foot Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, in New York. The Star, features 25,000 crystals and weighs 550 pounds, will sit atop the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree which will be lit on Dec. 4th. (Diane Bondareff/Invision for Swarovski/AP Images)
Visitor make photos of the Rockefeller Center Tree from Shelton, Conn., being raised and moved to its pedestal on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 at Rockefeller Plaza in New York. The 76-feet tall Norway spruce, donated by John Vargoshe and his wife Louise Vaargoshe, is approximately 75 years-old and weighs 12-tons. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Large crowds jam Rockefeller Center on the first weekend after the tree was lit
Ice skaters skate under the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree during the days leading up to Christmas.
CHRISTMAS IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER -- Pictured: 2013 The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center -- (Photo by: David Giesbrecht/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 04: Spectators enjoy the celebration during 81st Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center on December 4, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 04: Spectators enjoy the celebration during 81st Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center on December 4, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
NEW YORK-DEC 5: Rockefeller Center all decorated surrounding the newly lit Christmas tree on December 5, 2013.

Milling process of the Rockefeller tree.

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By NANCY LYNCH, RYAN GORMAN

America's most famous Christmas Tree will be lit Wednesday night, kicking off the holiday season in New York, but recent trees have gone to have even more important second acts.

Last year's 76-foot-tall, 12-ton Norway Spruce was milled into lumber used by Habitat for Humanity to build a home about an hour from Manhattan, in Connecticut, for a Marine vet and his family. They are expected to be moved in just in time to open presents under their own Christmas tree.

Dale and Marie Shaw, their nine-year-old son Anthony and seven-year-old daughter Salina have been living in a two-bedroom apartment nearby. The children have been sharing a bedroom.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has completely changed their lives.

Anthony and Selina chose the paint colors of their new bedrooms. Anthony says he "can't wait" to have a quiet space to do his homework.

The house is "a dream come true for my family. I never thought owning a home would ever be possible," their father told AOL News.

Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County made that dream became a reality. This is the eighth consecutive year the iconic tree has been built by Habitat into a home after dazzling millions in the city.

Well over 100 volunteers who have worked on the Shaws' Bridgeport home since breaking ground in May 2014. Build teams have been comprised of corporate, faith-based and civic groups.

The non-profit has helped families in need build, rehabilitate or upgrade 189 homes in Bridgeport, Stamford and Stratford since 1985, and Habitat International has aided more than five million people in 70 countries since its inception in 1976.

The Shaws are but one of a handful of families who will share in the holiday spirit with a home made from the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

"All our 2014 future homeowners have the spirit of the 'giving tree' in their home as the lumber from the tree was distributed equally," Bruce Berzin the president of Habitat CFC, told AOL. Berzin was very quick to acknowledge that the project was a group effort and it much wouldn't be possible without the support of the Elizabeth & Joseph Massoud Family Foundation.

When asked if the home's unique origin gave it any further meaning to the grateful families, Berzin replied: "Goodwill always brings positive energy".

"The Shaws embody the giving, cheerful Christmas spirit year round and that's why they were a perfect fit for the house."

The tree itself is from Connecticut, where it was planted as a seedling before growing into the behemoth towering over the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink last holiday season.

The Vargoshe family, of nearby Shelton, donated the tree from their yard.

Louise Vargoshe lamented the loss of their prized Norway Spruce.

This is where our children would play, swing and we would take family portraits," she told AOL. "We didn't realize how difficult it would be to cut it down until the day came."

But the spirit of giving brought on by Christmas provided the family with a silver lining in the form of the tree's second life.

"We were so happy that it brought people some joy in the season and now, the tree goes on," Vargoshe added. "We wish the Shaw family many happy years in their new home."

The non-profit requires homeowners to put in at least 500 hours of labor on the project, and Dale Shaw vows to keep hammering away until his family moves in.

He has already completed those hours and now spends his time helping to build other Habitat homes.

"It is important that I give back," he insists. "This is what it is all about, making other people's dreams come true too."

The rest of his family is now busy packing boxes and preparing their new home for the holidays.

When asked what he wanted for Christmas, Anthony sounded like the world's richest child.

"I don't need anything," he said while smiling. "I have my family and my new home. I have it all."

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