Shelton’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree to help Habitat family

The evergreen from Shelton chosen for the 2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will return to Fairfield County after the holidays to help give a family a place to live.

Tishman Speyer, the company that owns and operates Rockefeller Center, will mill lumber from the 76-foot-tall Norway spruce to be used by Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County to help build exterior and interior walls for a home in Bridgeport.

This is the seventh consecutive year that the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will be donated to Habitat for Humanity.

On display through Jan. 7

The tree came from the front yard of the Vargoshe family on Kazo Drive in Shelton, having been cut down on Nov. 7 to be transported by special truck to Manhattan for the holiday season.

The decorated tree now is on display at the plaza at 30 Rockefeller Center through Jan. 7. It is covered by 45,000 multi-colored LED lights and topped by a large crystal star.

Visitors may now view the lit tree in New York City each day from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.; all day (24 hours) on Christmas Day; and from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. The last day to view the tree is Jan. 7, 2014.

‘Growing tradition’

“For many people, the lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas tree has become synonymous with the Christmas season,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International.

“And we are grateful to Tishman Speyer for once again allowing us to be part of this growing tradition as lumber milled from the tree will become part of a safe, decent and affordable home,” Reckford said.

Keith Cook, co-president and director of construction at Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County, said lumber from the tree with provide “hope and promise” to families helped by Habitat.

“The 2013 Rockefeller Christmas tree will come full circle, from a seedling in neighboring Shelton to Rockefeller Center as a symbol of hope and promise, and finally a vital part of a new home in Bridgeport,” Cook said. “Habitat homes provide hope and promise for each of our partner families.”

Local Habitat is active

Since 1985, Habitat for Humanity has built a total of 177 homes in the Coastal Fairfield County cities of Bridgeport, Stratford, and Stamford.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was first donated to Habitat for Humanity in 2007. Lumber from previous trees has been used in the construction of homes in Pascagoula, Miss.; Stamford; Newburgh, N.Y.; Philadelphia; Morris, N.J.; and New York City.

Children’s book about the tree

The annual donation inspired a children’s book, “The Carpenter’s Gift.” Written by David Rubel in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity and illustrated by Jim LaMarche, the book tells the story of a young boy in Depression-era New York who wishes for a decent home for his family.

“The Carpenter’s Gift” shares a lesson of charity, goodwill and helping neighbors. Information about the book can be found at