Howard Hanna Brings Christmas to Refugee Homes - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Howard Hanna Brings Christmas to Refugee Homes

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"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.

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