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4 families given brand new homes in O.C.

July 10, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Four families got to move into their new houses Friday thanks to the help of Habitat for Humanity. The homes are all along Calle Rolando in San Juan Capistrano.

Ricardo Abreu, a first time homeowner, is proud and thankful for the help of Habitat for Humanity.

"When I walked in this place I was speechless," said Ricardo.

More than a decade ago Abreu lived in Cuba in a house the size of a shed. His family's journey to America began in 1991 when his father, Luis Abreu, found a letter in a bottle.

A wave of good fortune followed after Luis contacted the Orange County teacher who tossed the bottle in the Atlantic Ocean.

"It caught the Cuban current and washed up nine months later, and that's when we got the first letter," said Judy D'Albert. "And luckily Luis spoke pretty good English and he could write pretty good English."

D'Ablert and her class kept in touch with Luis and his wife for five years. Then in 1996 they won visas for legal immigration from the U.S. State Department. The school children paid for Luis and his wife to move California.

Eventually the Abreus brought their children to Orange County to start a new life.

"I want to be grateful about all that this country gave to us," said Luis.

Six members of the Abreu family had been crammed into a one bedroom apartment. Now they have plenty of room for everybody with four bedrooms and two bathrooms. There's also a backyard where Ricardo's kids can play.

"I figure they can play football there too. Baseball probably, without breaking the windows," said Ricardo.

Eventually Calle Rolando will be the site of 27 Habitat for Humanity homes.

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