"I am really thankful to them, there are no words."
For Tek Shibakoti and his family, this Christmas is the first they'll spend in their very own home.
Agents from Howard Hanna, who helped Tek and his cousin Bishnu find their first American homes here in Erie, paid a visit to bring some holiday cheer.
"My kid is very happy to have a Christmas Tree," said Tek, as his young daughter put brightly colored baubles on the tree that now stood in their dining room.
Real estate agent Wally Brown wanted to put up Christmas trees for the families to celebrate their first Christmas in their new homes. Managing Broker Mark Eller said Howard Hanna has been very fortunate this year, and now they want to give back to the community.
The trees were donated by Burawa's in Edinboro, and agents brought tinsel and ornaments.
The gesture was also a way for the cousins' young children to learn about part of American culture.
"This is a great opportunity to get socialized with the community," said Bishnu, who also has a young daughter.
A first house is exciting for anyone, but for these two families it's more than just a home. It's the start of a new life.
The cousins were both Bhutanese refugees in Nepal, after a civil war chased them from their home country. Their new homes in Erie are a sign of freedom and opportunity for their families.
Bishnu described the poor living conditions he left behind. "When I came here and been to the countryside and a farm, I realized that even animals... they have better homes than what we had back in Nepal."
"The dreams came true," said Bishnu, "living in my own house with a family... that's everything to me."
Agents from Howard Hanna said they would like to make the Christmas- Tree- giving a yearly tradition for the company, to welcome local refugee families.
Sunday, March 9 2014 5:33 PM EDT2014-03-09 21:33:04 GMT
One person is dead after a fatal accident in Millcreek on Sunday. Millcreek police discovered the crash just after 12:30AM while doing regular rounds; the accident was not called in. Officers discoveredMore >>
One man is dead after a fatal accident in Millcreek on Sunday. Police discovered the accident just after 12:30AM. More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 1:03 PM EDT2014-03-11 17:03:27 GMT
More than a half-dozen families were forced from their home early this morning when a fire broke out at their apartment complex in Crawford County. It broke out around 4:30am Tuesday at a building in theMore >>
More than a half-dozen families were forced from their home early this morning when a fire broke out at their apartment complex in Crawford CountyMore >>
Monday, March 10 2014 7:43 AM EDT2014-03-10 11:43:35 GMT
State Police were on the scene of a serious accident Sunday night, and the Coroner was called out as well. It happened around 9 o'clock Sunday night. Calls came in for a rollover accident on route 6NMore >>
Pennsylvania State Police are investigating a deadly Sunday night car crash in western Erie County.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 12:26 AM EDT2014-03-11 04:26:27 GMT
The Millcreek School Board met on Monday night to discuss a number of issues that will impact their finances. One of those issues: health care. Though the district faces higher healthcare costs everyMore >>
The Millcreek school district faces higher healthcare costs every year - a 6.4 percent, or an extra $600,000 this year - but that could soon be much more with the Affordable Care Act.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 3:39 PM EDT2014-03-11 19:39:57 GMT
Will Millcreek Township be short-changed if it sells its water system to the Erie Water Works?That was the question at today's Millcreek Supervisors meeting. If the sale goes through, about 30% of ErieMore >>
Millcreek Supervisors grilled about township's representation on the Erie Water Authority Board.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 10:07 AM EDT2014-03-10 14:07:22 GMT
State troopers are searching for the suspect in reported armed robbery at a southern Erie County store. It happened around 7:30pm Sunday at the Franklin General Store on Wattsburg Road in GereeneMore >>
State troopers are searching for the suspect in reported armed robbery at a southern Erie County store.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 3:09 PM EDT2014-03-11 19:09:54 GMT
Students at Penn State Behrend are gone for spring break. But the campus was still busy today, for the annual high school Science Olympiad. About 400 students from 33 area high schools competed in events,More >>